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The key problem isn’t Washington DC’s direct sanctions – Russia’s trade with the US is small, any restrictions can be easily substituted for or retaliated against, while harsher measures would require an unrealistic degree of international cooperation to be effective.

As I have written, the main problem is American secondary sanctions:

1. The US market is an order of magnitude larger than Russia’s, so it is not only US corporations that will defer to Uncle Sam. This will also hold true for European corporations (most of Russia’s trade is still with Europe), for Chinese corporations (unless the CPC expressly orders them to flout US restrictions), and even for other Russian corporations (e.g. Russian state banking giant Sberbank still doesn’t have any branches in Crimea in what is probably a futile effort to avoid US sanctions).

2. The fact that the US continues to introduce even more severe sanctions against Russian companies – and we haven’t even gotten to the fallout over the Douma alleged chemical weapons attack – will make foreigners even warier of doing business in Russia than they already are, and raise the cost of business across the board.

It appears that Russia is going to legislatively call America’s bluff in the following days. The proposed new laws, which enjoy support from the government and all the main political parties, will:

  1. Impose fines (~$10,000)/prison time (up to 4 years) on individuals and entities who support Western sanctions by refusing to do business with Russian citizens or entities on America’s SDN list.
  2. Impose fines (~$8,000)/prison time (up to 3 years) bans Russian citizens from directly promoting Western sanctions, such as “providing recommendations and sharing information.”

We are currently living in a strange, limbo-like situation where questioning the Crimea’s status as a part of Russia can be qualified as “separatism”, with several people getting prosecuted for doing so, while Sberbank – Russia’s largest, majority state-owned bank – refuses to open branches in the peninsula. With this legislation, Herman Gref’s lawyers – who say they cannot think of a scheme that will enable Sberbank to operate in Crimea without incurring sanctions – will now have to think harder.

As Egor Kholmogorov writes, Russia will now essentially be telling its “offshore patriots” to make a choice between Russia or the Washington Obkom.

Henceforth, there will be real costs associated with enforcing Uncle Sam’s Diktat on sovereign Russian territory.

I would also note perhaps an even more important element of the law is that it will soon force the US to clarify its intentions. If masses of Russian and even some heavily Russia-invested foreign companies start ignoring its secondary sanctions en masse, it will have to decide between turning a blind eye to them, or start serious moves to economically isolate it.

In the former case, the credibility of US secondary sanctions will start collapsing, in addition annulling much of the costs of the risk-related costs of doing business in Russia. This will even have some spillover effects to other countries sanctioned by the US (you’re welcome, Iranians).

In the latter case, the US will have made Russia’s impending choice between capitulation and autarky for it, which would be politically more tolerable.

The timing also could not have been better, what with Washington DC’s secondary sanctions against Iran exciting unusually forthwith protests from Germany and France. Like Alexander Mercouris, I do expect the Europeans to fold, because the United States remains a much more important economic partner than Iran, and in any case the Baltics and Poland can be relied upon to scuttle any EU-wide initiative. Nonetheless, a line has to be drawn in the sand sooner rather than later, and now is as good a time to do it as any.

The second part of the law banning Russian citizens from promoting Western sanctions has elicited squeals of protest from the Russian opposition. These are entirely self-interested. They couldn’t care less when Russians go to jail on the flimsiest “hate” charges – indeed, the “nationalist” Navalny himself was instrumental in getting Tesak locked up under Article 282, and many liberals such as Ksenia Sobchak want to extend anti-free speech laws to also cover pro-Stalinist sentiment.

But boy do they fall into an apoplectic fit when one of their favorite activities – submitting lists of their domestic political enemies to the Washington Obkom for sanctioning – is on the verge of getting criminalized.

Navalny helped the EU compile sanctions on the people who made Crimea’s return to Russia possible in 2014. A year later, he submitted a list of Russian bureaucrats he believed should be sanctioned to the FT, many of whom were indeed later sanctioned by the West. Also in 2015, professional oppositionists Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Kara-Murza traveled to the US to lobby Congress into putting Russian journalists – “propagandists” – on a no entry list for insufficiently fawning coverage of Boris Nemtsov, a famous but politically irrelevant opposition politician who had been recently murdered in Moscow.

Now all these people will face criminal liability for such activities.

The best part is that there are already good precedents for that in the “city on the hill” that the liberals look up to and worship. There is a bipartisan consensus in the US to effectively do away with the First Amendment in order to… criminalize not just participation in, but the mere advocacy of BDS with respect to Israel. This even extends to illegalizing speech that promotes boycotts on goods and services produced by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

Speaking for myself, I condemn all attempts to stifle free speech.

However, if some speech absolutely has to be stifled, it seems to me that Americans doing so for the benefit of Israel is sadder than Russians doing it for the benefit of Russia.

PS. One more confirmation (if any are still needed) that Russia isn’t planning on folding is that the rumors spread by someone that the former liberal Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin was going to be appointed to a senior post in the Russian government have been completely discredited. He has instead been appointed to be head of the National Audit Office, which is perhaps more humiliating than ignoring him entirely.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Economic Sanctions, Russia, United States 
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  1. Impose fines (~$10,000)/prison time (up to 4 years) on individuals and entities who support Western sanctions by refusing to do business with Russian citizens or entities on America’s SDN list.
    Impose fines (~$8,000)/prison time (up to 3 years) bans Russian citizens from directly promoting Western sanctions, such as “providing recommendations and sharing information.”

    Is this ‘and’ or ‘or’? You get to pay a fine of $10.000 – chump change for a Russian olygarch, or spend 4 years in a Russian prison?

    I feel that fines and much bigger fines is the way to go in this situation. Russian state throws people in prison far too easily.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Voloz
    A judge will decide what punishment is applicable in the particular case. He can choose between fine (~$10 000) / prison term (up to 4 years), but in addition to imprisonment, he can also add a fine which will be equal to the yearly income of the criminal.
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  2. Randal says:

    Absolutely no surprise that Russia’s “liberals” are as hypocritical as our own when it comes to freedom of speech and “hate speech”, and that’s no coincidence.

    But certainly the issue of secondary sanctions, which are the US regime’s main method for waging economic aggression and thereby leveraging its financial power into political power for those occasions when its usual military thuggery isn’t immediately appropriate, is becoming a big one right now, with the confluence of the anti-Russian campaign and the US reneging on the Iran agreement. It’s an issue China has to deal with as well:

    Trump defends U-turn on China’s ZTE ahead of trade talks

    It is a matter of basic sovereignty and of national pride – so needless to say I agree that Europe and the UK absolutely will bend over again. But none of them will enjoy doing so, and they’ll do so in a more surly and uncooperative manner, and it all brings forward the day when Europe (and perhaps even the UK, though less soon) decides in the light of the US’s ongoing relative decline to stand up on its collective hind legs again.

    So like the Trump decision on the Iran deal itself, it’s all good, in a “the worse the better” sense.

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  3. Reports are coming that the draft law has just passed the first hearing in Duma. More details about the proposed law from the Russian opposition website:

    https://meduza.io/en/cards/the-russian-authorities-want-to-jail-people-for-observing-or-even-promoting-western-sanctions

    They seem scared :)

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    Hey, thanks for the link! I never read meduza, and so would never have come across this:

    https://meduza.io/en/shapito/2018/05/14/the-300-puppies-rescued-from-the-chernobyl-exclusion-zone-are-bound-for-the-u-s

    I hope that any new counter-sanctions don't prevent me from getting one of those teenage mutant ninja puppies.

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  4. I thought about requiring oil exports to be paid for in Russian roubles. Now Russia has a neoliberal central bank anyway, so it must be worth something. It’d prop up demand for Russian roubles, and make it possible to export oil even in the face of sanctions. Actually it’d reverse some of the situation: for example the Russian government could sanction Goldman Sachs for “its closeness to the Trump regime and the role it played in the illegal actions of the US regime in Libya.” Then Goldman could play no role in the trade of Russian oil. So it would make selectively sanctioning foreign entities easier for Russia.

    And obviously some selective sanctions need to be started.

    Read More
    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Russia is a net exporter. Requiring exports of oil to be paid for in Roubles begs the question--where will customers get the Roubles?

    Option one: purchase Roubles, putting upward pressure on its value and thus harming import substitution efforts.

    Option two: lend Roubles to foreign customers instead of domestic investors.

    Both bad ideas.

    A better idea is to accept Euros, Yen, and Won for oil. Then use the money to import valuable machinery.

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  5. However, if some speech absolutely has to be stifled, it seems to me that Americans doing so for the benefit of Israel is sadder than Russians doing it for the benefit of Russia.

    I haven’t thought this through, but there has to be a better way to achieve the same goal. For example, by fining people for aiding and abetting “economic aggression against Родина-мать”. So state whatever opinion you have about Crimea or Tsargrad or whatever, but don’t participate in the organizing of sanctions against the country without consequences.

    On the other hand, I’m unconvinced that posers like Navalny are harming anybody but themselves. Rather than trying to suppress the disloyalty of Liberasts, it should simply be publicized.

    Russian owned businesses cooperating in sanctions, as opposed to “oppositionists” digging themselves a whole, are another matter. By all means bring pressure on them to act in the best interest of the country.

    One big problem with all of these proposals is that they will inevitably be politicized and used as a means for one clique to settle personal scores with another, regardless of whether there is a real question of national economic security. Usually the way to try to avoid this kind of problem is that you try to set up the incentives right, rather than creating means of punishment. But this requires more careful thought.

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  6. If Erdogan could swallow his pride and make peace with Russia for the sake of selling Turkish tomatoes and hosting sun-bathing tourists in Antalya, Putin should do the same with the West for the sake of peace and prosperity. Russia has plenty of land already and does need to gather more.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ali Choudhury
    *does not need to gather more.
    , @Felix Keverich
    Terrible analogy: Erdogan was the agressor a conflict with Russia, attacking Russian plane without provocation. Similarily, the West instigated its latest conflict with Russia, staging a coup in the Ukraine, overthrowing a Russia-friendly leader. It was Russia's response to this agression that brought Western sanctions.

    At stake is much bigger issue than Putin's pride: we're talking about Russia's soveregnty, including the right to defend its legitimate interests and conduct independent foreign policy. This is what the US is trying to deny us through sanctions.
    , @Daniel Chieh
    Shortly followed for a new milestone to be marked: first female president of Russia, and then afterward, first transsexual president of Russia.
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  7. @Felix Keverich
    Reports are coming that the draft law has just passed the first hearing in Duma. More details about the proposed law from the Russian opposition website:
    https://meduza.io/en/cards/the-russian-authorities-want-to-jail-people-for-observing-or-even-promoting-western-sanctions

    They seem scared :)

    Hey, thanks for the link! I never read meduza, and so would never have come across this:

    https://meduza.io/en/shapito/2018/05/14/the-300-puppies-rescued-from-the-chernobyl-exclusion-zone-are-bound-for-the-u-s

    I hope that any new counter-sanctions don’t prevent me from getting one of those teenage mutant ninja puppies.

    Read More
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  8. @Ali Choudhury
    If Erdogan could swallow his pride and make peace with Russia for the sake of selling Turkish tomatoes and hosting sun-bathing tourists in Antalya, Putin should do the same with the West for the sake of peace and prosperity. Russia has plenty of land already and does need to gather more.

    *does not need to gather more.

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  9. @Ali Choudhury
    If Erdogan could swallow his pride and make peace with Russia for the sake of selling Turkish tomatoes and hosting sun-bathing tourists in Antalya, Putin should do the same with the West for the sake of peace and prosperity. Russia has plenty of land already and does need to gather more.

    Terrible analogy: Erdogan was the agressor a conflict with Russia, attacking Russian plane without provocation. Similarily, the West instigated its latest conflict with Russia, staging a coup in the Ukraine, overthrowing a Russia-friendly leader. It was Russia’s response to this agression that brought Western sanctions.

    At stake is much bigger issue than Putin’s pride: we’re talking about Russia’s soveregnty, including the right to defend its legitimate interests and conduct independent foreign policy. This is what the US is trying to deny us through sanctions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ali Choudhury
    If you fly bombers close to\in the airspace of a power that has repeatedly said it does not want you there, aggressive actions can be expected. Invasions of territory make you touchy.
    , @Philip Owen
    The Russian blockade of Ukraine for the crime of talking to the EU timber women leverage preceded the Maidan. Ukrainian oligrach submission triggered the Maidan.
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  10. Randal says:

    For some relevant context, here’s one projection for the US share of global gdp, ppp basis:

    2012: 16.21%
    2013: 15.95%
    2014: 15.81%
    2015: 15.74%
    2016: 15.5%
    2017: 15.29%
    2018: 15.1%
    2019: 14.84%
    2020: 14.57%
    2021: 14.29%
    2022: 14.01%

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/270267/united-states-share-of-global-gross-domestic-product-gdp/

    Nor is this ongong relative decline in the basic economic power that enables the US’s abuse of secondary sanctions an unexpected, controversial or new development. It’s a decline that has been ongoing for decades now, and reflects a general catching up of the rest of the world with the massive lead established by the European states (and European offshoots, including the US) over previous centuries. The European states have experienced the same relative decline: the current EU members accounted for 30% of global gdp in 1980, but less than 17% now.

    A really dominant global power historically has needed to account for around a quarter or more of world gdp. That was (just about) true for the British Empire and certainly of the US during its dominant C20th years, but probably never of the Soviet Union.

    So on the basis of the fundamentals, there’s hope, and the EU and China each account for a greater share of the world economy than the US.

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.

    In nominal terms, the US and EU are still well ahead of China in share of gobal gdp: US 24.3%, EU 21.7%, China 15%, according to the 2017 IMDF figures (per Wikipedia)

    On the face of it, though, any kind of coordinated response from Europe and China would easily see off the US abuse of its financial power, and the fact that this has not happened and likely will not happen any time soon reflects Europe’s continuing post-WW2 subordination to the US and lack of real sovereignty. But underlying reality and exchange rate based power surely cannot continue to diverge forever, and the writing must be on the wall for the US’s control over Europe that enables its continued global power. Indeed, one could view the manufactured hysteria over and escalating confrontations of Russia as reflecting US regime fear of this impending end. It provides a possible explanation of why US elites have chosen to alienate Russia rather than ally with it in the post-Soviet era, when on the face of it the sensible course would have been to bring Russia on board as an ally against the actual long term rival, China.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It's more than just GDP numbers. The world is arguably more globalized now than ever before. So the power of the dominant power to project economic force through secondary sanctions has probably grown relative to earlier ages.
    , @DFH

    the fact that this has not happened and likely will not happen any time soon reflects Europe’s continuing post-WW2 subordination to the US and lack of real sovereignty
     
    Subordination, lol! Europeans will always be naturally closer to their racial/cultural cousins in the US than the alien Chinese. The price of the US being the leading partner in the alliance with Europe is only stupid and loathsome but in-the-grand-scheme-of-things irrelevant frippery like support for Israel and tepid support of Middle Eastern wars and sanctions on relatively minor economic partners like Russia and Iran.
    , @Mitleser

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.

    In nominal terms, the US and EU are still well ahead of China in share of gobal gdp: US 24.3%, EU 21.7%, China 15%, according to the 2017 IMDF figures (per Wikipedia)
     
    https://adamtooze.com/2017/03/30/notes-global-condition-americanization-global-capital/

    It is not just that many obviously American companies dominate their sectors, but firms that appear to be European, Asian, Australian actually have large and in some cases controlling American ownership. For example, if it is hard to buy into China directly, the next best thing is to buy into the Australian mining companies that supply China. So Starrs finds that “American firms own a combined 68% of the Australian-domiciled BHP Billiton for example, which in 2012 has a stunning 14% profit-share in the $172 billion Forestry, Metals and Mining sector. More broadly, American firms own 46% of the world’s top 500 corporations (despite “only” 33% of the top 500 with US-domicile), which is almost six times greater than its nearest competitor, Japan. And note the asymmetry of cross-ownership: While the American share in many non-American corporations reaches 20% or more, the total combined foreign share of top American corporations is usually no more than 15%. Americans own much more of the world than the rest of the world owns the United States, and this asymmetric interdependence leads to asymmetric power. Perhaps one of the clearest manifestations of this is that American citizens continue to own the dominant share of global wealth at 40% or more, despite the global share of US GDP steadily declining over the past half-century to less than a quarter since 2008. Lying in between is the 36% American ownership of Gazprom (versus 64% Russian) and the 28% American ownership of Samsung Electronics (versus 63% Korean).” Yup, thats right, at the time of writing, Americans owned 36 % of Gazprom!
     
    , @Jon0815

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.
     
    Although it is still down significantly from the USA's post-Cold War peak of 29.7% of world GDP in 1999.
    , @RadicalCenter
    Appreciate your perspective and the GDP stats.

    Muslim-dominated African-plagued Europe will be a chaotic, violent, balkanized, impoverished mess. Not too concerned about Europe as a major medium-term to longer-term economic competitor.

    China will be bounding farther ahead of Eurabia and the USA alike.

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  11. @Randal
    For some relevant context, here's one projection for the US share of global gdp, ppp basis:

    2012: 16.21%
    2013: 15.95%
    2014: 15.81%
    2015: 15.74%
    2016: 15.5%
    2017: 15.29%
    2018: 15.1%
    2019: 14.84%
    2020: 14.57%
    2021: 14.29%
    2022: 14.01%
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/270267/united-states-share-of-global-gross-domestic-product-gdp/

    Nor is this ongong relative decline in the basic economic power that enables the US's abuse of secondary sanctions an unexpected, controversial or new development. It's a decline that has been ongoing for decades now, and reflects a general catching up of the rest of the world with the massive lead established by the European states (and European offshoots, including the US) over previous centuries. The European states have experienced the same relative decline: the current EU members accounted for 30% of global gdp in 1980, but less than 17% now.

    A really dominant global power historically has needed to account for around a quarter or more of world gdp. That was (just about) true for the British Empire and certainly of the US during its dominant C20th years, but probably never of the Soviet Union.

    So on the basis of the fundamentals, there's hope, and the EU and China each account for a greater share of the world economy than the US.

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.

    In nominal terms, the US and EU are still well ahead of China in share of gobal gdp: US 24.3%, EU 21.7%, China 15%, according to the 2017 IMDF figures (per Wikipedia)

    On the face of it, though, any kind of coordinated response from Europe and China would easily see off the US abuse of its financial power, and the fact that this has not happened and likely will not happen any time soon reflects Europe's continuing post-WW2 subordination to the US and lack of real sovereignty. But underlying reality and exchange rate based power surely cannot continue to diverge forever, and the writing must be on the wall for the US's control over Europe that enables its continued global power. Indeed, one could view the manufactured hysteria over and escalating confrontations of Russia as reflecting US regime fear of this impending end. It provides a possible explanation of why US elites have chosen to alienate Russia rather than ally with it in the post-Soviet era, when on the face of it the sensible course would have been to bring Russia on board as an ally against the actual long term rival, China.

    It’s more than just GDP numbers. The world is arguably more globalized now than ever before. So the power of the dominant power to project economic force through secondary sanctions has probably grown relative to earlier ages.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Such links work both ways, though.

    The reality remains imo that the key is US domination of Europe. Clearly on either ppp or nominal figures, Europe and China combined massively outweigh the US. Their inability to combine effectively to resist the arbitrary exercise of US economic power is down to the refusal of European regimes to exercise genuine independence (and therefore sovereignty) against US impositions.
    , @Beckow

    ....the power of the dominant power to project economic force through secondary sanctions has probably grown...
     
    True. But there are two things to consider:

    - Business thrives by growth on the margins, so leaving large markets untapped for a long time is unnatural in capitalism, sooner or later they will go for it

    - Economic downturn: unless an ahistoric miracle happens and US (and EU) don't experience the usual economic contraction each decade or so, when the next crisis happens the chessboard will get completely scrambled. In 2008-9, Russia actively cooperated with the West in controlling the crisis (so did China). In the crisis, they could do the opposite and try to exacerbate it or take advantage of it.

    Secondary sanctions are not sustainable. Unless they collapse Russia (very unlikely), they end up adding new constraints that could be very painful. No rational player introduces a tool that cannot be sustained and that creates a lose-lose scenario down the road. In addition, any 'sanctions' over time undermine Western main weapon - the reserve status of its fiat currencies. I wonder about the irrationality of it all, but then maybe this is not primarily about business and economics. And that is serious.
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  12. LondonBob says:

    Sanctions on Rusal badly backfired. Opinion is shifting in Europe too, looks like Salvini might be the Italian foreign minister. This article in the neocon Times, of all places, really caught my eye.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/trump-is-pushing-us-into-the-arms-of-china-bw7bnj9d5?shareToken=c8165bb9397ad9cc0d860ac558a2c7b5

    Burleigh is smart thinker and has always gone his own way though.

    Read More
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  13. @Felix Keverich
    Terrible analogy: Erdogan was the agressor a conflict with Russia, attacking Russian plane without provocation. Similarily, the West instigated its latest conflict with Russia, staging a coup in the Ukraine, overthrowing a Russia-friendly leader. It was Russia's response to this agression that brought Western sanctions.

    At stake is much bigger issue than Putin's pride: we're talking about Russia's soveregnty, including the right to defend its legitimate interests and conduct independent foreign policy. This is what the US is trying to deny us through sanctions.

    If you fly bombers close to\in the airspace of a power that has repeatedly said it does not want you there, aggressive actions can be expected. Invasions of territory make you touchy.

    Read More
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  14. DFH says:
    @Randal
    For some relevant context, here's one projection for the US share of global gdp, ppp basis:

    2012: 16.21%
    2013: 15.95%
    2014: 15.81%
    2015: 15.74%
    2016: 15.5%
    2017: 15.29%
    2018: 15.1%
    2019: 14.84%
    2020: 14.57%
    2021: 14.29%
    2022: 14.01%
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/270267/united-states-share-of-global-gross-domestic-product-gdp/

    Nor is this ongong relative decline in the basic economic power that enables the US's abuse of secondary sanctions an unexpected, controversial or new development. It's a decline that has been ongoing for decades now, and reflects a general catching up of the rest of the world with the massive lead established by the European states (and European offshoots, including the US) over previous centuries. The European states have experienced the same relative decline: the current EU members accounted for 30% of global gdp in 1980, but less than 17% now.

    A really dominant global power historically has needed to account for around a quarter or more of world gdp. That was (just about) true for the British Empire and certainly of the US during its dominant C20th years, but probably never of the Soviet Union.

    So on the basis of the fundamentals, there's hope, and the EU and China each account for a greater share of the world economy than the US.

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.

    In nominal terms, the US and EU are still well ahead of China in share of gobal gdp: US 24.3%, EU 21.7%, China 15%, according to the 2017 IMDF figures (per Wikipedia)

    On the face of it, though, any kind of coordinated response from Europe and China would easily see off the US abuse of its financial power, and the fact that this has not happened and likely will not happen any time soon reflects Europe's continuing post-WW2 subordination to the US and lack of real sovereignty. But underlying reality and exchange rate based power surely cannot continue to diverge forever, and the writing must be on the wall for the US's control over Europe that enables its continued global power. Indeed, one could view the manufactured hysteria over and escalating confrontations of Russia as reflecting US regime fear of this impending end. It provides a possible explanation of why US elites have chosen to alienate Russia rather than ally with it in the post-Soviet era, when on the face of it the sensible course would have been to bring Russia on board as an ally against the actual long term rival, China.

    the fact that this has not happened and likely will not happen any time soon reflects Europe’s continuing post-WW2 subordination to the US and lack of real sovereignty

    Subordination, lol! Europeans will always be naturally closer to their racial/cultural cousins in the US than the alien Chinese. The price of the US being the leading partner in the alliance with Europe is only stupid and loathsome but in-the-grand-scheme-of-things irrelevant frippery like support for Israel and tepid support of Middle Eastern wars and sanctions on relatively minor economic partners like Russia and Iran.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    The price of the US being the leading partner in the alliance with Europe is only stupid and loathsome but in-the-grand-scheme-of-things irrelevant frippery like support for Israel and tepid support of Middle Eastern wars and sanctions on relatively minor economic partners like Russia and Iran.
     
    No, the price is the forfeiture of sovereignty and subordination to US rule. A situation where the US can directly impose upon European companies and private citizens its own policies in relation to third party countries is a fundamentally shameful one for those European countries, made all the worse by the criminal aggression and literal stupidity of the policies in question.

    That in many cases they serve the interests of Israel and other nefarious lobbies, and not even of Americans, only makes the situation worse.
    , @neutral

    racial/cultural cousins
     
    The USA is already 50% non white, the under 18 population is already majority non white, so there is no racial kinship with that brown land. Now you might argue that Europe is also being overrun by the third world, but then such two brown blobs will not be able to rule the world nor will they share any real racial or cultural kinship with each other.
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  15. Alexey Kudrin was going to be appointed to a senior post in the Russian government have been completely discredited. He has instead been appointed to be head of the National Audit Office, which is perhaps more humiliating than ignoring him entirely.

    Is this really true?
    He said that his position is equivalent in status to that of a vice premier. Below at 1:35

    Hopefully you’re right though, and the position is as irrelevant as you say, regardless of its official status.

    The new law is good, let’s hope it gets implemented properly.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    The Federal Antimonopoly Service once meant nothing. Medvedev failed to support it against the Customs Service. Putin turned it into the main review body on supporting foreign and state investment. Nabullina transformed the Russian banking system with intense auditing activity. Kudrin could come out of this as Mr Clean Government.
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  16. Randal says:
    @reiner Tor
    It's more than just GDP numbers. The world is arguably more globalized now than ever before. So the power of the dominant power to project economic force through secondary sanctions has probably grown relative to earlier ages.

    Such links work both ways, though.

    The reality remains imo that the key is US domination of Europe. Clearly on either ppp or nominal figures, Europe and China combined massively outweigh the US. Their inability to combine effectively to resist the arbitrary exercise of US economic power is down to the refusal of European regimes to exercise genuine independence (and therefore sovereignty) against US impositions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    If the world is tired of arbitrary US government exercise of power, I don't blame them. But just wait and see how they like arbitrary CHINESE government power. Oh boy.
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  17. Randal says:
    @DFH

    the fact that this has not happened and likely will not happen any time soon reflects Europe’s continuing post-WW2 subordination to the US and lack of real sovereignty
     
    Subordination, lol! Europeans will always be naturally closer to their racial/cultural cousins in the US than the alien Chinese. The price of the US being the leading partner in the alliance with Europe is only stupid and loathsome but in-the-grand-scheme-of-things irrelevant frippery like support for Israel and tepid support of Middle Eastern wars and sanctions on relatively minor economic partners like Russia and Iran.

    The price of the US being the leading partner in the alliance with Europe is only stupid and loathsome but in-the-grand-scheme-of-things irrelevant frippery like support for Israel and tepid support of Middle Eastern wars and sanctions on relatively minor economic partners like Russia and Iran.

    No, the price is the forfeiture of sovereignty and subordination to US rule. A situation where the US can directly impose upon European companies and private citizens its own policies in relation to third party countries is a fundamentally shameful one for those European countries, made all the worse by the criminal aggression and literal stupidity of the policies in question.

    That in many cases they serve the interests of Israel and other nefarious lobbies, and not even of Americans, only makes the situation worse.

    Read More
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  18. Navalny helped the EU compile sanctions

    Can you check the link pls?

    Read More
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  19. neutral says:

    Putin should do the same with the West for the sake of peace and prosperity

    By “West” I assume you mean the fake (((West))). That being the case, it was the international jew types that are the ones seeking confrontation and they absolutely do not want peace, unless its total subjugation.

    Read More
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  20. Speaking for myself, I condemn all attempts to stifle free speech.

    I don’t really see this as a free speech issue. As I understand it, the behavior to be criminalized is not speech per se (in support of sanctions) but actions facilitating such sanctions (e.g. by giving names or other information). Sanctions being essentially an act of war (especially as administered by the US), I think this is wholly justified.

    The bill states that any move which fulfills the decision of a foreign state, a bloc of foreign states or an international organization to impose restrictive measures on Russia or its citizens should be punished if it leads to the restriction or cancellation of business deals between Russian citizens or companies. The proposed punishment ranges from a fine of up to 600,000 rubles (about US$9,680) to four years of penal labor or the same time behind bars.

    The same bill also introduces fines up to 500,000 rubles ($8,065) or up to three years in custody for any premeditated action that leads to foreign countries or organizations imposing sanctions on Russian private and public companies.

    https://www.rt.com/politics/426625-russian-lawmakers-bill-sancions/

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  21. Mr. Hack says:

    Nonetheless, a line has to be drawn in the sand sooner rather than later, and now is as good a time to do it as any.

    That’s right! Dig your heels into the sand and continue crumbling. I hope it (the Crimea and Donbas) is worth it. Russia isn’t stupid enough to invade the Baltics…or is it?

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Dig your heels into the sand and continue crumbling.
     
    You've got a very perverse definition of 'crumbling', mate.
    , @Randal

    Dig your heels into the sand and continue crumbling.
     
    No doubt that's what you desperately hope will happen to the new Kerch bridge opening today. In the meantime, though, it stands as a considerable engineering achievement and a powerful political statement.
    , @The Big Red Scary
    Look, I get your upset about the fight between the Russian and Ukrainian governments and that you favor the Ukrainian government. I myself don't have a dog in that fight, but I'm just curious whether y0u honestly believe any of the following:

    1) US sanctions against Russia are really, actually about Ukraine or Syria or Facebook ads about woke blacks or Pussy Riot or whatever.

    2) US sanctions against Russia are going to significantly change policy of the Russian government towards any of the above.

    3) Russia is actually going to "crumble"? What does that even mean? A return to the 90s?
    , @RadicalCenter
    Crumbling, like bridges and roads in the USA?
    Or merely declining, like the US labor participation, marriage, and household savings rates?

    To adapt an old expression, people who live in crumbling houses shouldn't throw stones.

    I'm an American, Hack, and you are a liar and an embarrassment. But perfectly named.

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  22. @Mr. Hack

    Nonetheless, a line has to be drawn in the sand sooner rather than later, and now is as good a time to do it as any.
     
    That's right! Dig your heels into the sand and continue crumbling. I hope it (the Crimea and Donbas) is worth it. Russia isn't stupid enough to invade the Baltics...or is it?

    Dig your heels into the sand and continue crumbling.

    You’ve got a very perverse definition of ‘crumbling’, mate.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    'perverse' or just realistic:

    Analysts and investors in Moscow said the sanctions could consign Russia to years of low growth, frustrating government efforts to stimulate a rebound from a two-year downturn brought on by low oil prices and Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis...Russia’s rouble suffered its biggest daily fall in over three years on Monday and stocks in major Russian companies also slid, as investors reacted to the new sanctions. State-owned Sberbank, often seen as a barometer of the wider economy, fell 17 percent in Moscow and aluminum giant Rusal (0486.HK) lost over half its value in Hong Kong after its main owner Oleg Deripaska was named on the sanctions list.
     
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-sanctions-economy/russia-in-the-doldrums-new-u-s-sanctions-to-weigh-on-recovery-idUSKBN1HG2IT
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  23. Mr. Hack says:
    @anonymous coward

    Dig your heels into the sand and continue crumbling.
     
    You've got a very perverse definition of 'crumbling', mate.

    ‘perverse’ or just realistic:

    Analysts and investors in Moscow said the sanctions could consign Russia to years of low growth, frustrating government efforts to stimulate a rebound from a two-year downturn brought on by low oil prices and Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis…Russia’s rouble suffered its biggest daily fall in over three years on Monday and stocks in major Russian companies also slid, as investors reacted to the new sanctions. State-owned Sberbank, often seen as a barometer of the wider economy, fell 17 percent in Moscow and aluminum giant Rusal (0486.HK) lost over half its value in Hong Kong after its main owner Oleg Deripaska was named on the sanctions list.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-sanctions-economy/russia-in-the-doldrums-new-u-s-sanctions-to-weigh-on-recovery-idUSKBN1HG2IT

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Stocks fell, blah blah
     
    I'm positively quaking in my boots. Time to stock up on hedgehog meat and bear skins, I guess!
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  24. Randal says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Nonetheless, a line has to be drawn in the sand sooner rather than later, and now is as good a time to do it as any.
     
    That's right! Dig your heels into the sand and continue crumbling. I hope it (the Crimea and Donbas) is worth it. Russia isn't stupid enough to invade the Baltics...or is it?

    Dig your heels into the sand and continue crumbling.

    No doubt that’s what you desperately hope will happen to the new Kerch bridge opening today. In the meantime, though, it stands as a considerable engineering achievement and a powerful political statement.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    I've been to Kerch, it's a lovely historic town. I'm against any barbaric acts of violence. My hope has always been that Russia and Ukraine could could learn to live like neighbors - respected neighbors, not ones that resort to violence and theft at the first perceived provocation.
    , @for-the-record
    the new Kerch bridge opening today.

    You must be imagining things . . .

    Moscow “won’t succeed in building Kerch bridge”

    Russia will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait to link occupied Crimea with the Russian Federation, according to a Ukrainian scholar. But its likely inability to do so means that Moscow may have even more reason to press ahead with its aggression elsewhere to secure a land route to the peninsula.

    In an interview on BTB, Serhiy Hromenko, a researcher at the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, says that Moscow will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait or get the Chinese to do it for them as some have speculated.

    The “unpleasant” truth is that only the Germans were able to build such a bridge in the course of their invasion of the USSR, but the 4.5 kilometer German bridge was destroyed by ice flows immediately after the war. And since that time, “no one, not even the Soviet Union with all its power, was able to build such a bridge.”

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/09/13/moscow-wont-succeed-in-building-kerch-bridge/

     

    And as well:

    Official explains why Crimea-Russia bridge stillborn

    There are documents in archives proving that the construction of the bridge over the Kerch Strait, which would connect the occupied Crimea with Russia, is impossible, according to the representative of Ukraine in the political subgroup at the Tripartite Liaison Group, Roman Bezsmertniy, 112 TV channel reports.

    "The bridge will not be there! The Russians may drive these piles for decades. There was one man who drafted the real, credible mechanisms for the construction of this bridge. It was the Minister of Construction of Nazi Germany Albert Speer. You may check out the documents in archives," he said. Bezsmertniy stressed that the construction site passes over the junction of tectonic plates.

    "Today, everyone knows that no bridge construction is possible at the junction of the two tectonic plates, as they are moving all the time. And we live in this fairy tale. The answer is simple, it is on the surface. Why has the bridge not been built yet? Because it is impossible to build there!" he said.

    As UNIAN reported earlier, on October 8 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that before the end of 2018, Russia must build "another complex bridge crossing – the crossing over the Kerch Strait."

    On September 5 2014, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said that Russia plans to build a bridge in the occupied Crimea through the Kerch Strait before December 16, 2018.

    https://www.unian.info/society/1294716-official-explains-why-crimea-russia-bridge-stillborn-project.html
     
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  25. @reiner Tor
    I thought about requiring oil exports to be paid for in Russian roubles. Now Russia has a neoliberal central bank anyway, so it must be worth something. It'd prop up demand for Russian roubles, and make it possible to export oil even in the face of sanctions. Actually it'd reverse some of the situation: for example the Russian government could sanction Goldman Sachs for "its closeness to the Trump regime and the role it played in the illegal actions of the US regime in Libya." Then Goldman could play no role in the trade of Russian oil. So it would make selectively sanctioning foreign entities easier for Russia.

    And obviously some selective sanctions need to be started.

    Russia is a net exporter. Requiring exports of oil to be paid for in Roubles begs the question–where will customers get the Roubles?

    Option one: purchase Roubles, putting upward pressure on its value and thus harming import substitution efforts.

    Option two: lend Roubles to foreign customers instead of domestic investors.

    Both bad ideas.

    A better idea is to accept Euros, Yen, and Won for oil. Then use the money to import valuable machinery.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Probably you're right.
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  26. @Mr. Hack

    Nonetheless, a line has to be drawn in the sand sooner rather than later, and now is as good a time to do it as any.
     
    That's right! Dig your heels into the sand and continue crumbling. I hope it (the Crimea and Donbas) is worth it. Russia isn't stupid enough to invade the Baltics...or is it?

    Look, I get your upset about the fight between the Russian and Ukrainian governments and that you favor the Ukrainian government. I myself don’t have a dog in that fight, but I’m just curious whether y0u honestly believe any of the following:

    1) US sanctions against Russia are really, actually about Ukraine or Syria or Facebook ads about woke blacks or Pussy Riot or whatever.

    2) US sanctions against Russia are going to significantly change policy of the Russian government towards any of the above.

    3) Russia is actually going to “crumble”? What does that even mean? A return to the 90s?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Russia will increasingly suffer economically for its malfeasance in Ukraine. Barbaric, clumsy behavior should not be tolerated or countenanced. It's really not all that complicated.
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  27. Mr. Hack says:
    @The Big Red Scary
    Look, I get your upset about the fight between the Russian and Ukrainian governments and that you favor the Ukrainian government. I myself don't have a dog in that fight, but I'm just curious whether y0u honestly believe any of the following:

    1) US sanctions against Russia are really, actually about Ukraine or Syria or Facebook ads about woke blacks or Pussy Riot or whatever.

    2) US sanctions against Russia are going to significantly change policy of the Russian government towards any of the above.

    3) Russia is actually going to "crumble"? What does that even mean? A return to the 90s?

    Russia will increasingly suffer economically for its malfeasance in Ukraine. Barbaric, clumsy behavior should not be tolerated or countenanced. It’s really not all that complicated.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    I asked some pragmatic questions in good faith, but I don't feel you've answered them. However, I'll add another less pragmatic question, still in good faith:


    4) If you really think that

    barbaric, clumsy behavior should not be tolerated or countenanced
     
    then do you objectively find the behavior of the Russian government with respect to Ukraine extraordinarily problematic? How for example does it compare to US actions in Iraq, Libya, or Syria over the last fifteen years? "Should" the US suffer for this? Will the US suffer for this?
    , @Gerard2

    Russia will increasingly suffer economically for its malfeasance in Ukraine. Barbaric, clumsy behavior should not be tolerated or countenanced. It’s really not all that complicated.
     
    LOL......with the amount of trade and investment that Ukraine does with America and Canada, it's probably more accurate to say that Ukraine is the country more sanctioned than Russia. An abysmal amount of trade from it's Nazi-Bandera lobby idiot CIA asset freaks. Any sanctions from the west on Russia seem to affect Ukraine more than Russia itself. Shows you how stupid the "Ukrainians" are in power in "Ukraine"......the same idiot thinking that made Saakashvili a governor in Odessa..even though he's a wanted criminal in supposed ally Gruzia who they are supposed to be on a joint-path of reorientation towards the west and EU.



    How dumb do you have to be not to know this?

    Tell me seriously Mr Hack,....are you a paedophile?
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  28. Mr. Hack says:
    @Randal

    Dig your heels into the sand and continue crumbling.
     
    No doubt that's what you desperately hope will happen to the new Kerch bridge opening today. In the meantime, though, it stands as a considerable engineering achievement and a powerful political statement.

    I’ve been to Kerch, it’s a lovely historic town. I’m against any barbaric acts of violence. My hope has always been that Russia and Ukraine could could learn to live like neighbors – respected neighbors, not ones that resort to violence and theft at the first perceived provocation.

    Read More
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  29. neutral says:
    @DFH

    the fact that this has not happened and likely will not happen any time soon reflects Europe’s continuing post-WW2 subordination to the US and lack of real sovereignty
     
    Subordination, lol! Europeans will always be naturally closer to their racial/cultural cousins in the US than the alien Chinese. The price of the US being the leading partner in the alliance with Europe is only stupid and loathsome but in-the-grand-scheme-of-things irrelevant frippery like support for Israel and tepid support of Middle Eastern wars and sanctions on relatively minor economic partners like Russia and Iran.

    racial/cultural cousins

    The USA is already 50% non white, the under 18 population is already majority non white, so there is no racial kinship with that brown land. Now you might argue that Europe is also being overrun by the third world, but then such two brown blobs will not be able to rule the world nor will they share any real racial or cultural kinship with each other.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    White European-descended people in the USA -- the real, core historic "America" -- whatever their percentage of the US population, are indeed cultural and genetic cousins of the white people in Europe itself. We need each other and should always endeavor to help each other in any way possible.

    As for demographic, cultural, and crime trends, Europe seems likely to become Muslim-dominated fairly soon, and more heavily African than the USA as a bonus.
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  30. @Mr. Hack
    Russia will increasingly suffer economically for its malfeasance in Ukraine. Barbaric, clumsy behavior should not be tolerated or countenanced. It's really not all that complicated.

    I asked some pragmatic questions in good faith, but I don’t feel you’ve answered them. However, I’ll add another less pragmatic question, still in good faith:

    4) If you really think that

    barbaric, clumsy behavior should not be tolerated or countenanced

    then do you objectively find the behavior of the Russian government with respect to Ukraine extraordinarily problematic? How for example does it compare to US actions in Iraq, Libya, or Syria over the last fifteen years? “Should” the US suffer for this? Will the US suffer for this?

    Read More
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  31. @Randal

    Dig your heels into the sand and continue crumbling.
     
    No doubt that's what you desperately hope will happen to the new Kerch bridge opening today. In the meantime, though, it stands as a considerable engineering achievement and a powerful political statement.

    the new Kerch bridge opening today.

    You must be imagining things . . .

    Moscow “won’t succeed in building Kerch bridge”

    Russia will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait to link occupied Crimea with the Russian Federation, according to a Ukrainian scholar. But its likely inability to do so means that Moscow may have even more reason to press ahead with its aggression elsewhere to secure a land route to the peninsula.

    In an interview on BTB, Serhiy Hromenko, a researcher at the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, says that Moscow will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait or get the Chinese to do it for them as some have speculated.

    The “unpleasant” truth is that only the Germans were able to build such a bridge in the course of their invasion of the USSR, but the 4.5 kilometer German bridge was destroyed by ice flows immediately after the war. And since that time, “no one, not even the Soviet Union with all its power, was able to build such a bridge.”

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/09/13/moscow-wont-succeed-in-building-kerch-bridge/

    And as well:

    Official explains why Crimea-Russia bridge stillborn

    There are documents in archives proving that the construction of the bridge over the Kerch Strait, which would connect the occupied Crimea with Russia, is impossible, according to the representative of Ukraine in the political subgroup at the Tripartite Liaison Group, Roman Bezsmertniy, 112 TV channel reports.

    “The bridge will not be there! The Russians may drive these piles for decades. There was one man who drafted the real, credible mechanisms for the construction of this bridge. It was the Minister of Construction of Nazi Germany Albert Speer. You may check out the documents in archives,” he said. Bezsmertniy stressed that the construction site passes over the junction of tectonic plates.

    “Today, everyone knows that no bridge construction is possible at the junction of the two tectonic plates, as they are moving all the time. And we live in this fairy tale. The answer is simple, it is on the surface. Why has the bridge not been built yet? Because it is impossible to build there!” he said.

    As UNIAN reported earlier, on October 8 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that before the end of 2018, Russia must build “another complex bridge crossing – the crossing over the Kerch Strait.”

    On September 5 2014, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said that Russia plans to build a bridge in the occupied Crimea through the Kerch Strait before December 16, 2018.

    https://www.unian.info/society/1294716-official-explains-why-crimea-russia-bridge-stillborn-project.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Achieving the impossible - quite a triumph.
    , @songbird
    That's interesting: I never would have supposed that the Germans would have built a 4.5 km bridge, during WW2. Seems like a pretty crazy thing to do.
    , @Simpleguest
    "The “unpleasant” truth is that only the Germans were able to build such a bridge in the course of their invasion of the USSR, but the 4.5 kilometer German bridge was destroyed by ice flows immediately after the war"

    Wow.
    While Nazi Germany managed to bridge the strait with a structure only 4.5 km long, the Russians had to build a whooping 15 km longer bridge to do the same.
    Brazen theft of state budget funds!
    (Sarcasm, of course).
    , @Mitleser
    Get your Ukrop-vision glasses so that you can see the truth.

    https://i.imgur.com/rNC5SKM.jpg

    They know this bridge is impossible to build in the given location, so the temporary bridge is just a haze for everybody's eyes, to play for some more time.
     

    Also you can see it's actually not moving anywhere now.
     

    That's why they cannot build the heavy supports offshore. For all the works happening on the site, the purpose now is only one: to raise the dust in the thin air.
     

    Why do you think they cannot go offshore with the main pillars? The main goal now - is to play for time.
     
    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpost.php?p=139349964&postcount=461
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  32. donnyess says:

    “harsher measures would require an unrealistic degree of international cooperation to be effective.”

    This was the key question with the Magnitsky Act which signaled the beginning of the sanctions war. Can you pressure 150 other nations to support it? Sanctions can serve as a loyalty litmus test for other nations called upon to support them. One should note Nikki Haley’s forceful declaration that those nations which do not support us (have our backs) can expect some sort of negative response from the US. Russia as a nuclear armed power under Putin has not seemed willing to go beyond Putin’s untenable statements to protect or aid other nations that might be so pressured or ravaged by US diplomatic or covert military actions…witness Syria…witness Putin’s complete failure to act against the semites or NATO actions. This lack of resolve will be observed by other nations so pressured to support ever widening sanctions against Russia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JL

    witness Syria
     
    Syria wouldn't even exist right now if it wasn't for Russia. Part of the their strategy, for whatever reason, is to withstand the Israelis' and NATO's periodic temper tantrums. Of course, if the Syrians feel like the Russians are unreliable partners they can kick them out of the country any time they wish, and go it on their own.
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  33. JL says:
    @donnyess
    "harsher measures would require an unrealistic degree of international cooperation to be effective."

    This was the key question with the Magnitsky Act which signaled the beginning of the sanctions war. Can you pressure 150 other nations to support it? Sanctions can serve as a loyalty litmus test for other nations called upon to support them. One should note Nikki Haley's forceful declaration that those nations which do not support us (have our backs) can expect some sort of negative response from the US. Russia as a nuclear armed power under Putin has not seemed willing to go beyond Putin's untenable statements to protect or aid other nations that might be so pressured or ravaged by US diplomatic or covert military actions...witness Syria...witness Putin's complete failure to act against the semites or NATO actions. This lack of resolve will be observed by other nations so pressured to support ever widening sanctions against Russia.

    witness Syria

    Syria wouldn’t even exist right now if it wasn’t for Russia. Part of the their strategy, for whatever reason, is to withstand the Israelis’ and NATO’s periodic temper tantrums. Of course, if the Syrians feel like the Russians are unreliable partners they can kick them out of the country any time they wish, and go it on their own.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    Syria wouldn’t even exist right now if it wasn’t for Russia. Part of the their strategy, for whatever reason, is to withstand the Israelis’ and NATO’s periodic temper tantrums. Of course, if the Syrians feel like the Russians are unreliable partners they can kick them out of the country any time they wish, and go it on their own.
     
    It isn't quite as simple as that, though. Russia has repeatedly proven to be an unreliable ally against US and especially Israeli power, from collaborating with the US sanctions charade against Iran to indulging Israeli impunity in carrying out acts of murderous aggression in Syria, and will have only itself to blame if, when push comes to shove, it finds Iran unwilling to go to the wall for Russia, and similarly for China, which is undoubtedly watching, to regard Russia as fundamentally unreliable.

    The latest Guardian propaganda piece highlights the kind of issue involved:

    Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, was in Moscow again last week, aligning his interests in Syria with those of Vladimir Putin. Israel forewarned Russia of last week’s attacks.
     
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/15/iraq-shock-election-result-may-be-turning-point-for-iran

    It is impossible for anyone outside the senior levels of the Russia government to know the truth, if any, in this assertion (and for sure the piece is the usual rank Israeli propaganda to be expected from the Guardian). But the Iranians will have a fair idea of what games Russia is playing and will be aware if Russia is betraying them in this kind of way.

    For sure, Russia is under no treaty-based duty to protect its allies interests when they are faced with outright Israeli aggression. But when it needs help, it will likely find that help will not be forthcoming and its allies will simply make the same point - that they are under no treaty duty to oblige.

    If Russia really thinks that it can appease the US or the Israelis (and Putin has often given the impression that he would like to do so), it would be making a huge error of judgement. The longer Israeli impunity in its acts of aggression against Russia's allies in the ME continue, the firmer that impression will become.
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  34. Randal says:
    @for-the-record
    the new Kerch bridge opening today.

    You must be imagining things . . .

    Moscow “won’t succeed in building Kerch bridge”

    Russia will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait to link occupied Crimea with the Russian Federation, according to a Ukrainian scholar. But its likely inability to do so means that Moscow may have even more reason to press ahead with its aggression elsewhere to secure a land route to the peninsula.

    In an interview on BTB, Serhiy Hromenko, a researcher at the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, says that Moscow will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait or get the Chinese to do it for them as some have speculated.

    The “unpleasant” truth is that only the Germans were able to build such a bridge in the course of their invasion of the USSR, but the 4.5 kilometer German bridge was destroyed by ice flows immediately after the war. And since that time, “no one, not even the Soviet Union with all its power, was able to build such a bridge.”

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/09/13/moscow-wont-succeed-in-building-kerch-bridge/

     

    And as well:

    Official explains why Crimea-Russia bridge stillborn

    There are documents in archives proving that the construction of the bridge over the Kerch Strait, which would connect the occupied Crimea with Russia, is impossible, according to the representative of Ukraine in the political subgroup at the Tripartite Liaison Group, Roman Bezsmertniy, 112 TV channel reports.

    "The bridge will not be there! The Russians may drive these piles for decades. There was one man who drafted the real, credible mechanisms for the construction of this bridge. It was the Minister of Construction of Nazi Germany Albert Speer. You may check out the documents in archives," he said. Bezsmertniy stressed that the construction site passes over the junction of tectonic plates.

    "Today, everyone knows that no bridge construction is possible at the junction of the two tectonic plates, as they are moving all the time. And we live in this fairy tale. The answer is simple, it is on the surface. Why has the bridge not been built yet? Because it is impossible to build there!" he said.

    As UNIAN reported earlier, on October 8 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that before the end of 2018, Russia must build "another complex bridge crossing – the crossing over the Kerch Strait."

    On September 5 2014, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said that Russia plans to build a bridge in the occupied Crimea through the Kerch Strait before December 16, 2018.

    https://www.unian.info/society/1294716-official-explains-why-crimea-russia-bridge-stillborn-project.html
     

    Achieving the impossible – quite a triumph.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Achieving the impossible – quite a triumph.

    And ahead of schedule.

    Putin Opens Crimean Bridge Condemned By Kyiv, EU

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has opened the country's newly built bridge to the annexed Crimean Peninsula, driving a truck across the span and drawing angry condemnation from Kyiv and the European Union [Presidents not allowed to drive trucks?]

    Putin was shown live on state television at the wheel of a Kamaz truck in a convoy of vehicles that crossed what Russia calls the Crimean Bridge -- a symbol of Moscow's control over the Ukrainian peninsula -- on May 15.

    After an excited reporter welcomed "our heroes" as the convoy arrived on the Crimean side, Putin hopped out of the cab in jeans and a jacket and praised builders for the "miracle" he said they had created.

    "Throughout various historical epochs...people have dreamed of building this bridge," Putin said, calling it a "historic day."

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that "the illegal construction of the Kerch bridge is the latest evidence of the Kremlin's disregard for international law."

    In a statement posted on Twitter, he said it was "particularly cynical" that the opening took place days before the anniversary of the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars from their homeland by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in 1944.

    EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini's spokeswoman said construction of the bridge "constitutes another violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russia."

    "The construction of the bridge aims at the further forced integration of the illegally annexed peninsula with Russia and its isolation from Ukraine, of which it remains a part," spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said in a statement.

    https://www.rferl.org/a/putin-to-attend-opening-of-bridge-linking-russia-to-crimea/29227926.html
     
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  35. @Randal
    Achieving the impossible - quite a triumph.

    Achieving the impossible – quite a triumph.

    And ahead of schedule.

    Putin Opens Crimean Bridge Condemned By Kyiv, EU

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has opened the country’s newly built bridge to the annexed Crimean Peninsula, driving a truck across the span and drawing angry condemnation from Kyiv and the European Union [Presidents not allowed to drive trucks?]

    Putin was shown live on state television at the wheel of a Kamaz truck in a convoy of vehicles that crossed what Russia calls the Crimean Bridge — a symbol of Moscow’s control over the Ukrainian peninsula — on May 15.

    After an excited reporter welcomed “our heroes” as the convoy arrived on the Crimean side, Putin hopped out of the cab in jeans and a jacket and praised builders for the “miracle” he said they had created.

    “Throughout various historical epochs…people have dreamed of building this bridge,” Putin said, calling it a “historic day.”

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that “the illegal construction of the Kerch bridge is the latest evidence of the Kremlin’s disregard for international law.”

    In a statement posted on Twitter, he said it was “particularly cynical” that the opening took place days before the anniversary of the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars from their homeland by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in 1944.

    EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini’s spokeswoman said construction of the bridge “constitutes another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russia.”

    “The construction of the bridge aims at the further forced integration of the illegally annexed peninsula with Russia and its isolation from Ukraine, of which it remains a part,” spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said in a statement.

    https://www.rferl.org/a/putin-to-attend-opening-of-bridge-linking-russia-to-crimea/29227926.html

    Read More
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  36. OT

    Meanwhile, some “neutral” countries enter a military alliance (or “cooperation”) with the US.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-14/us-sweden-and-finland-boost-military-cooperation-form-new-alliance

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Key point:

    For Stockholm and Helsinki, joining NATO is not an option for domestic political reasons.
     
    In other words, the elites want the US alliance, but enacting it by manipulation of the democratic process is too costly or difficult, so they do an end run instead.
    , @RadicalCenter
    Boy, those new Muslim shock troops from "Sweden" really turned the tide in that battle against big bad Russia ;)

    I hear the remaining white, um, men in the Swedish military polish the ... rifles of the Muslim men.
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  37. Voloz says:
    @Felix Keverich


    Impose fines (~$10,000)/prison time (up to 4 years) on individuals and entities who support Western sanctions by refusing to do business with Russian citizens or entities on America’s SDN list.
    Impose fines (~$8,000)/prison time (up to 3 years) bans Russian citizens from directly promoting Western sanctions, such as “providing recommendations and sharing information.”
     
    Is this 'and' or 'or'? You get to pay a fine of $10.000 - chump change for a Russian olygarch, or spend 4 years in a Russian prison?

    I feel that fines and much bigger fines is the way to go in this situation. Russian state throws people in prison far too easily.

    A judge will decide what punishment is applicable in the particular case. He can choose between fine (~$10 000) / prison term (up to 4 years), but in addition to imprisonment, he can also add a fine which will be equal to the yearly income of the criminal.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    a fine which will be equal to the yearly income of the criminal
     
    heh, we're potentially talking about Sberbank management here. Does this mean Sberbank's annual profit gets confiscated? Or just Herman Gref's annual salary?

    I still believe that prison term is disproportionate punishment in this situation. It will likely be applied incosistently and abused by siloviki to steal businesses.
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  38. songbird says:
    @for-the-record
    the new Kerch bridge opening today.

    You must be imagining things . . .

    Moscow “won’t succeed in building Kerch bridge”

    Russia will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait to link occupied Crimea with the Russian Federation, according to a Ukrainian scholar. But its likely inability to do so means that Moscow may have even more reason to press ahead with its aggression elsewhere to secure a land route to the peninsula.

    In an interview on BTB, Serhiy Hromenko, a researcher at the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, says that Moscow will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait or get the Chinese to do it for them as some have speculated.

    The “unpleasant” truth is that only the Germans were able to build such a bridge in the course of their invasion of the USSR, but the 4.5 kilometer German bridge was destroyed by ice flows immediately after the war. And since that time, “no one, not even the Soviet Union with all its power, was able to build such a bridge.”

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/09/13/moscow-wont-succeed-in-building-kerch-bridge/

     

    And as well:

    Official explains why Crimea-Russia bridge stillborn

    There are documents in archives proving that the construction of the bridge over the Kerch Strait, which would connect the occupied Crimea with Russia, is impossible, according to the representative of Ukraine in the political subgroup at the Tripartite Liaison Group, Roman Bezsmertniy, 112 TV channel reports.

    "The bridge will not be there! The Russians may drive these piles for decades. There was one man who drafted the real, credible mechanisms for the construction of this bridge. It was the Minister of Construction of Nazi Germany Albert Speer. You may check out the documents in archives," he said. Bezsmertniy stressed that the construction site passes over the junction of tectonic plates.

    "Today, everyone knows that no bridge construction is possible at the junction of the two tectonic plates, as they are moving all the time. And we live in this fairy tale. The answer is simple, it is on the surface. Why has the bridge not been built yet? Because it is impossible to build there!" he said.

    As UNIAN reported earlier, on October 8 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that before the end of 2018, Russia must build "another complex bridge crossing – the crossing over the Kerch Strait."

    On September 5 2014, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said that Russia plans to build a bridge in the occupied Crimea through the Kerch Strait before December 16, 2018.

    https://www.unian.info/society/1294716-official-explains-why-crimea-russia-bridge-stillborn-project.html
     

    That’s interesting: I never would have supposed that the Germans would have built a 4.5 km bridge, during WW2. Seems like a pretty crazy thing to do.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Seems like a pretty crazy thing to do.

    According to Wiki the story is a bit more complicated:

    The idea of this bridge was first conceived by Albert Speer in early 1943.[5] He hoped that the bridge would help spearhead the German invasion of the North Caucasus, but history ruled that it would help the Wehrmacht to retreat: from January to October 1943 the retreat of the German Caucasus Army/Army Group A, took place across the Strait of Kerch. To support the retreat the German Organisation Todt (OT) had built a ropeway across the Kerch Strait with a daily capacity of 1,000 tons. On 7 March 1943 Hitler ordered the construction of a combined road and railway bridge over the Strait of Kerch within 6 months. In April 1943, the OT had started with the construction of a combined iron road and railway war-bridge across the Strait of Kerch. On 1 September 1943, concentrated Soviet attacks began on the remnants of the bridgehead, accelerating the German retreat. At this time the new bridge was not yet completed (only one third was completed). As part of the German retreat, the Wehrmacht blasted the already completed parts of the bridge.[6]

    The 4.5-kilometre (2.8 mi) bridge was actually built in the summer of 1944 after the liberation of the Crimea by the Red Army from the materials left on the site by the Wehrmacht. It was destroyed within six months by flowing ice,[7] due to the absence of groynes.
     
    I was initially a bit confused by the lengths of the various bridges: 4.5 km for the WWII one, 19km for today. Here is a map showing the location of the new bridge:

    https://sofrep.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2.jpg

    and here is one of the strait in general, presumably the WWII German/Russian bridge was to the north near Port Kavkaz:

    https://www.kyivpost.com/wp-content/uploads/data/uploads/c/iblock/articles/75580/5118/original-570x520.jpg
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  39. Randal says:
    @reiner Tor
    OT

    Meanwhile, some "neutral" countries enter a military alliance (or "cooperation") with the US.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-14/us-sweden-and-finland-boost-military-cooperation-form-new-alliance

    Key point:

    For Stockholm and Helsinki, joining NATO is not an option for domestic political reasons.

    In other words, the elites want the US alliance, but enacting it by manipulation of the democratic process is too costly or difficult, so they do an end run instead.

    Read More
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  40. Randal says:
    @JL

    witness Syria
     
    Syria wouldn't even exist right now if it wasn't for Russia. Part of the their strategy, for whatever reason, is to withstand the Israelis' and NATO's periodic temper tantrums. Of course, if the Syrians feel like the Russians are unreliable partners they can kick them out of the country any time they wish, and go it on their own.

    Syria wouldn’t even exist right now if it wasn’t for Russia. Part of the their strategy, for whatever reason, is to withstand the Israelis’ and NATO’s periodic temper tantrums. Of course, if the Syrians feel like the Russians are unreliable partners they can kick them out of the country any time they wish, and go it on their own.

    It isn’t quite as simple as that, though. Russia has repeatedly proven to be an unreliable ally against US and especially Israeli power, from collaborating with the US sanctions charade against Iran to indulging Israeli impunity in carrying out acts of murderous aggression in Syria, and will have only itself to blame if, when push comes to shove, it finds Iran unwilling to go to the wall for Russia, and similarly for China, which is undoubtedly watching, to regard Russia as fundamentally unreliable.

    The latest Guardian propaganda piece highlights the kind of issue involved:

    Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, was in Moscow again last week, aligning his interests in Syria with those of Vladimir Putin. Israel forewarned Russia of last week’s attacks.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/15/iraq-shock-election-result-may-be-turning-point-for-iran

    It is impossible for anyone outside the senior levels of the Russia government to know the truth, if any, in this assertion (and for sure the piece is the usual rank Israeli propaganda to be expected from the Guardian). But the Iranians will have a fair idea of what games Russia is playing and will be aware if Russia is betraying them in this kind of way.

    For sure, Russia is under no treaty-based duty to protect its allies interests when they are faced with outright Israeli aggression. But when it needs help, it will likely find that help will not be forthcoming and its allies will simply make the same point – that they are under no treaty duty to oblige.

    If Russia really thinks that it can appease the US or the Israelis (and Putin has often given the impression that he would like to do so), it would be making a huge error of judgement. The longer Israeli impunity in its acts of aggression against Russia’s allies in the ME continue, the firmer that impression will become.

    Read More
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Overwrought hyperbole, and you know it.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    I hate to be put into the position of apologizing for the Kremlin, but...

    1. Syria and Iran are not Russian allies. There is no formal obligation for Russia to either as it does wrt CSTO members.

    2. Syria is friendly to Russia because it depends on it. As Putin himself said, Assad visited Paris more frequently than he did Moscow before 2011. And unlike even Syria, Iran did not and does not recognize Crimea, and kicked Russians out of the airbase in their country almost as soon as they allowed them to use it.

    The only valid criticism which I would have opposed is going along with US sanctions against Iran.

    Otherwise, I do not see why Russia should go out of its way to make favors for these incompetent and Russophile-only-by-necessity regimes, which don't have much in the way of economics or technology to offer Russia themselves.

    I do not expect Iran to help Russia if it "needs help," regardless of what Russia does; and even if it does, I do not see in what way it would be useful.
    , @Mitleser

    and will have only itself to blame if, when push comes to shove, it finds Iran unwilling to go to the wall for Russia, and similarly for China, which is undoubtedly watching, to regard Russia as fundamentally unreliable.
     
    I agree that Russia is quite unreliable.
    But the same applies to Iran* and China**.

    *remember the Iranian response to Russian bombers in Iran

    **American measures against Iran would not have been effective without China's support

    China had agreed to support the U.S. push for UN sanctions.

    When the sanctions drive was threatened by the Iran/Turkey/Brazil fuel swap agreement (hereinafter the ITB swap) China gritted its teeth and, instead of supporting this dramatic and apparently genuine exercise in developing-world diplomacy, undercut it by acquiescing to America's rushed riposte: the announcement that a draft sanctions resolution approved by the P5+1 would be circulated to the Security Council.

    To observers that expected China to champion the rights and interests of nations outside the Western bloc, it was not a pretty picture.
    The resolution announcement incensed Brazil and Turkey, two natural allies in China's plans for a new, post-U.S. world order.

    Iran's reaction to China's actions has been muted, even though its foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, was reportedly thunderstruck when a Reuters correspondent told him about the resolution announcement on May 19 in Dushanbe.

    Within China, indignant netizens employed salty language to excoriate China's capitulation to the United States--and its wordy, parsing efforts to justify the government's actions.
     

    As China's foreign ministry reached out to Turkey and Brazil to praise the fuel swap deal and repair China's standing in the developing world, two complementary editorials in China's influential Global Times--one in English for a Western audience and one in Chinese for everybody else--laid out Beijing's case and labored to salvage China's public image as an independent and principled world power.

    But at the same time it made it clear that the PRC was not going to attempt to exploit the ITB swap announcement in order to embarrass the United States and decouple from the sanctions drive.
     

    The Western media professes to believe that Chinese support was extorted by threats to come down hard on China on the issues of currency valuation and the Cheonan sinking.

    However, it appears that the situation leading up to the sanctions resolution announcement on May 18 was quite the opposite.

    The Obama administration, desperate to keep the ITB swap deal from derailing the sanctions push, was forced to finalize its negotiations with Russia and China in conditions that can charitably be described as adverse.

    Russia and China were in the position to make demands--and they did, as the New York Times reported:

    Among the many compromises that the United States accepted to get China and Russia to back new sanctions against Iran was an agreement to limit any reference to the bank — or Iran’s entire energy sector, for that matter — to the introductory paragraphs rather than the sanctions themselves, according to American officials and other diplomats, yielding a weaker resolution than the United States would have liked.

    The standoff between Washington and Beijing over what economic measures to include in the final resolution consumed the last 10 days of the negotiations, diplomats said. (3)

    Now, UN sanctions appear inevitable--thanks to China.
     
    http://chinamatters.blogspot.de/2018/01/you-like-iran-nuclear-deal-thank-china.html
    , @RadicalCenter
    God I hope Russia gives those S-300 or even S-400 systems to Syria already. The whole world would benefit if Syria were able to emphatically repel an Israeli missile attack and shoot down numerous Israeli planes to boot.
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  41. @for-the-record
    the new Kerch bridge opening today.

    You must be imagining things . . .

    Moscow “won’t succeed in building Kerch bridge”

    Russia will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait to link occupied Crimea with the Russian Federation, according to a Ukrainian scholar. But its likely inability to do so means that Moscow may have even more reason to press ahead with its aggression elsewhere to secure a land route to the peninsula.

    In an interview on BTB, Serhiy Hromenko, a researcher at the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, says that Moscow will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait or get the Chinese to do it for them as some have speculated.

    The “unpleasant” truth is that only the Germans were able to build such a bridge in the course of their invasion of the USSR, but the 4.5 kilometer German bridge was destroyed by ice flows immediately after the war. And since that time, “no one, not even the Soviet Union with all its power, was able to build such a bridge.”

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/09/13/moscow-wont-succeed-in-building-kerch-bridge/

     

    And as well:

    Official explains why Crimea-Russia bridge stillborn

    There are documents in archives proving that the construction of the bridge over the Kerch Strait, which would connect the occupied Crimea with Russia, is impossible, according to the representative of Ukraine in the political subgroup at the Tripartite Liaison Group, Roman Bezsmertniy, 112 TV channel reports.

    "The bridge will not be there! The Russians may drive these piles for decades. There was one man who drafted the real, credible mechanisms for the construction of this bridge. It was the Minister of Construction of Nazi Germany Albert Speer. You may check out the documents in archives," he said. Bezsmertniy stressed that the construction site passes over the junction of tectonic plates.

    "Today, everyone knows that no bridge construction is possible at the junction of the two tectonic plates, as they are moving all the time. And we live in this fairy tale. The answer is simple, it is on the surface. Why has the bridge not been built yet? Because it is impossible to build there!" he said.

    As UNIAN reported earlier, on October 8 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that before the end of 2018, Russia must build "another complex bridge crossing – the crossing over the Kerch Strait."

    On September 5 2014, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said that Russia plans to build a bridge in the occupied Crimea through the Kerch Strait before December 16, 2018.

    https://www.unian.info/society/1294716-official-explains-why-crimea-russia-bridge-stillborn-project.html
     

    “The “unpleasant” truth is that only the Germans were able to build such a bridge in the course of their invasion of the USSR, but the 4.5 kilometer German bridge was destroyed by ice flows immediately after the war”

    Wow.
    While Nazi Germany managed to bridge the strait with a structure only 4.5 km long, the Russians had to build a whooping 15 km longer bridge to do the same.
    Brazen theft of state budget funds!
    (Sarcasm, of course).

    Read More
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  42. @Ali Choudhury
    If Erdogan could swallow his pride and make peace with Russia for the sake of selling Turkish tomatoes and hosting sun-bathing tourists in Antalya, Putin should do the same with the West for the sake of peace and prosperity. Russia has plenty of land already and does need to gather more.

    Shortly followed for a new milestone to be marked: first female president of Russia, and then afterward, first transsexual president of Russia.

    Read More
    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
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  43. @Voloz
    A judge will decide what punishment is applicable in the particular case. He can choose between fine (~$10 000) / prison term (up to 4 years), but in addition to imprisonment, he can also add a fine which will be equal to the yearly income of the criminal.

    a fine which will be equal to the yearly income of the criminal

    heh, we’re potentially talking about Sberbank management here. Does this mean Sberbank’s annual profit gets confiscated? Or just Herman Gref’s annual salary?

    I still believe that prison term is disproportionate punishment in this situation. It will likely be applied incosistently and abused by siloviki to steal businesses.

    Read More
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  44. @Mr. Hack
    'perverse' or just realistic:

    Analysts and investors in Moscow said the sanctions could consign Russia to years of low growth, frustrating government efforts to stimulate a rebound from a two-year downturn brought on by low oil prices and Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis...Russia’s rouble suffered its biggest daily fall in over three years on Monday and stocks in major Russian companies also slid, as investors reacted to the new sanctions. State-owned Sberbank, often seen as a barometer of the wider economy, fell 17 percent in Moscow and aluminum giant Rusal (0486.HK) lost over half its value in Hong Kong after its main owner Oleg Deripaska was named on the sanctions list.
     
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-sanctions-economy/russia-in-the-doldrums-new-u-s-sanctions-to-weigh-on-recovery-idUSKBN1HG2IT

    Stocks fell, blah blah

    I’m positively quaking in my boots. Time to stock up on hedgehog meat and bear skins, I guess!

    Read More
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  45. LondonBob says:
    @Randal

    Syria wouldn’t even exist right now if it wasn’t for Russia. Part of the their strategy, for whatever reason, is to withstand the Israelis’ and NATO’s periodic temper tantrums. Of course, if the Syrians feel like the Russians are unreliable partners they can kick them out of the country any time they wish, and go it on their own.
     
    It isn't quite as simple as that, though. Russia has repeatedly proven to be an unreliable ally against US and especially Israeli power, from collaborating with the US sanctions charade against Iran to indulging Israeli impunity in carrying out acts of murderous aggression in Syria, and will have only itself to blame if, when push comes to shove, it finds Iran unwilling to go to the wall for Russia, and similarly for China, which is undoubtedly watching, to regard Russia as fundamentally unreliable.

    The latest Guardian propaganda piece highlights the kind of issue involved:

    Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, was in Moscow again last week, aligning his interests in Syria with those of Vladimir Putin. Israel forewarned Russia of last week’s attacks.
     
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/15/iraq-shock-election-result-may-be-turning-point-for-iran

    It is impossible for anyone outside the senior levels of the Russia government to know the truth, if any, in this assertion (and for sure the piece is the usual rank Israeli propaganda to be expected from the Guardian). But the Iranians will have a fair idea of what games Russia is playing and will be aware if Russia is betraying them in this kind of way.

    For sure, Russia is under no treaty-based duty to protect its allies interests when they are faced with outright Israeli aggression. But when it needs help, it will likely find that help will not be forthcoming and its allies will simply make the same point - that they are under no treaty duty to oblige.

    If Russia really thinks that it can appease the US or the Israelis (and Putin has often given the impression that he would like to do so), it would be making a huge error of judgement. The longer Israeli impunity in its acts of aggression against Russia's allies in the ME continue, the firmer that impression will become.

    Overwrought hyperbole, and you know it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Nope. A balanced assessment recognising that my own oft-stated personal inclination to give the Russians the benefit of the doubt is becoming increasingly untenable.
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  46. Randal says:
    @LondonBob
    Overwrought hyperbole, and you know it.

    Nope. A balanced assessment recognising that my own oft-stated personal inclination to give the Russians the benefit of the doubt is becoming increasingly untenable.

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  47. Mitleser says:
    @Randal
    For some relevant context, here's one projection for the US share of global gdp, ppp basis:

    2012: 16.21%
    2013: 15.95%
    2014: 15.81%
    2015: 15.74%
    2016: 15.5%
    2017: 15.29%
    2018: 15.1%
    2019: 14.84%
    2020: 14.57%
    2021: 14.29%
    2022: 14.01%
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/270267/united-states-share-of-global-gross-domestic-product-gdp/

    Nor is this ongong relative decline in the basic economic power that enables the US's abuse of secondary sanctions an unexpected, controversial or new development. It's a decline that has been ongoing for decades now, and reflects a general catching up of the rest of the world with the massive lead established by the European states (and European offshoots, including the US) over previous centuries. The European states have experienced the same relative decline: the current EU members accounted for 30% of global gdp in 1980, but less than 17% now.

    A really dominant global power historically has needed to account for around a quarter or more of world gdp. That was (just about) true for the British Empire and certainly of the US during its dominant C20th years, but probably never of the Soviet Union.

    So on the basis of the fundamentals, there's hope, and the EU and China each account for a greater share of the world economy than the US.

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.

    In nominal terms, the US and EU are still well ahead of China in share of gobal gdp: US 24.3%, EU 21.7%, China 15%, according to the 2017 IMDF figures (per Wikipedia)

    On the face of it, though, any kind of coordinated response from Europe and China would easily see off the US abuse of its financial power, and the fact that this has not happened and likely will not happen any time soon reflects Europe's continuing post-WW2 subordination to the US and lack of real sovereignty. But underlying reality and exchange rate based power surely cannot continue to diverge forever, and the writing must be on the wall for the US's control over Europe that enables its continued global power. Indeed, one could view the manufactured hysteria over and escalating confrontations of Russia as reflecting US regime fear of this impending end. It provides a possible explanation of why US elites have chosen to alienate Russia rather than ally with it in the post-Soviet era, when on the face of it the sensible course would have been to bring Russia on board as an ally against the actual long term rival, China.

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.

    In nominal terms, the US and EU are still well ahead of China in share of gobal gdp: US 24.3%, EU 21.7%, China 15%, according to the 2017 IMDF figures (per Wikipedia)

    https://adamtooze.com/2017/03/30/notes-global-condition-americanization-global-capital/

    It is not just that many obviously American companies dominate their sectors, but firms that appear to be European, Asian, Australian actually have large and in some cases controlling American ownership. For example, if it is hard to buy into China directly, the next best thing is to buy into the Australian mining companies that supply China. So Starrs finds that “American firms own a combined 68% of the Australian-domiciled BHP Billiton for example, which in 2012 has a stunning 14% profit-share in the $172 billion Forestry, Metals and Mining sector. More broadly, American firms own 46% of the world’s top 500 corporations (despite “only” 33% of the top 500 with US-domicile), which is almost six times greater than its nearest competitor, Japan. And note the asymmetry of cross-ownership: While the American share in many non-American corporations reaches 20% or more, the total combined foreign share of top American corporations is usually no more than 15%. Americans own much more of the world than the rest of the world owns the United States, and this asymmetric interdependence leads to asymmetric power. Perhaps one of the clearest manifestations of this is that American citizens continue to own the dominant share of global wealth at 40% or more, despite the global share of US GDP steadily declining over the past half-century to less than a quarter since 2008. Lying in between is the 36% American ownership of Gazprom (versus 64% Russian) and the 28% American ownership of Samsung Electronics (versus 63% Korean).” Yup, thats right, at the time of writing, Americans owned 36 % of Gazprom!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I have seen this before, but how does this square with America's strongly negative net international investment position?
    , @Randal
    Good stuff, thanks. Illustrates how the US has been able to sustain its power, and some of what makes its economic warfare so persistently effective and so damnably sticky.

    At least it gives a purpose for the leftist anti-globalism that is so prevalent these days. I had always regarded them as just utterly useless and mostly counterproductive, but if they can ever actually again achieve any old school revolutionary expropriations it will help to curtail US power.

    More generally, Americans look more and more like the proverbial "market-dominant minority" on the global scale. Things will not go well for them if and when peoples' hatred of them ever gets to the stage where it can overcome their military enforcers and the self-interest of those non-Americans who protect American interests for their own benefit.
    , @RadicalCenter
    And MY massive stake in Gazprom really puts us in control ;)
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  48. Mitleser says:
    @for-the-record
    the new Kerch bridge opening today.

    You must be imagining things . . .

    Moscow “won’t succeed in building Kerch bridge”

    Russia will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait to link occupied Crimea with the Russian Federation, according to a Ukrainian scholar. But its likely inability to do so means that Moscow may have even more reason to press ahead with its aggression elsewhere to secure a land route to the peninsula.

    In an interview on BTB, Serhiy Hromenko, a researcher at the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, says that Moscow will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait or get the Chinese to do it for them as some have speculated.

    The “unpleasant” truth is that only the Germans were able to build such a bridge in the course of their invasion of the USSR, but the 4.5 kilometer German bridge was destroyed by ice flows immediately after the war. And since that time, “no one, not even the Soviet Union with all its power, was able to build such a bridge.”

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/09/13/moscow-wont-succeed-in-building-kerch-bridge/

     

    And as well:

    Official explains why Crimea-Russia bridge stillborn

    There are documents in archives proving that the construction of the bridge over the Kerch Strait, which would connect the occupied Crimea with Russia, is impossible, according to the representative of Ukraine in the political subgroup at the Tripartite Liaison Group, Roman Bezsmertniy, 112 TV channel reports.

    "The bridge will not be there! The Russians may drive these piles for decades. There was one man who drafted the real, credible mechanisms for the construction of this bridge. It was the Minister of Construction of Nazi Germany Albert Speer. You may check out the documents in archives," he said. Bezsmertniy stressed that the construction site passes over the junction of tectonic plates.

    "Today, everyone knows that no bridge construction is possible at the junction of the two tectonic plates, as they are moving all the time. And we live in this fairy tale. The answer is simple, it is on the surface. Why has the bridge not been built yet? Because it is impossible to build there!" he said.

    As UNIAN reported earlier, on October 8 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that before the end of 2018, Russia must build "another complex bridge crossing – the crossing over the Kerch Strait."

    On September 5 2014, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said that Russia plans to build a bridge in the occupied Crimea through the Kerch Strait before December 16, 2018.

    https://www.unian.info/society/1294716-official-explains-why-crimea-russia-bridge-stillborn-project.html
     

    Get your Ukrop-vision glasses so that you can see the truth.

    They know this bridge is impossible to build in the given location, so the temporary bridge is just a haze for everybody’s eyes, to play for some more time.

    Also you can see it’s actually not moving anywhere now.

    That’s why they cannot build the heavy supports offshore. For all the works happening on the site, the purpose now is only one: to raise the dust in the thin air.

    Why do you think they cannot go offshore with the main pillars? The main goal now – is to play for time.

    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpost.php?p=139349964&postcount=461

    Read More
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  49. Gerard2 says:
    @Mr. Hack
    Russia will increasingly suffer economically for its malfeasance in Ukraine. Barbaric, clumsy behavior should not be tolerated or countenanced. It's really not all that complicated.

    Russia will increasingly suffer economically for its malfeasance in Ukraine. Barbaric, clumsy behavior should not be tolerated or countenanced. It’s really not all that complicated.

    LOL……with the amount of trade and investment that Ukraine does with America and Canada, it’s probably more accurate to say that Ukraine is the country more sanctioned than Russia. An abysmal amount of trade from it’s Nazi-Bandera lobby idiot CIA asset freaks. Any sanctions from the west on Russia seem to affect Ukraine more than Russia itself. Shows you how stupid the “Ukrainians” are in power in “Ukraine”……the same idiot thinking that made Saakashvili a governor in Odessa..even though he’s a wanted criminal in supposed ally Gruzia who they are supposed to be on a joint-path of reorientation towards the west and EU.

    [MORE]

    How dumb do you have to be not to know this?

    Tell me seriously Mr Hack,….are you a paedophile?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Your prognostications for Ukraine's economy seem a little too glib to be accurate. Sure for a year and a half after Russia's invasion and annexation of Crimea, things slowed down, but over the last year and a half, Ukraine's economy has been recovering quite nicely (it would be even better for Ukraine, as it would be for Russia, if Ukraine had not been provoked into a senseless war with Russia):

    Late in July 2016, the State Statistics Service of Ukraine reported that, compared with June 2015, real wages had increased by 17.3%.[69] Simultaneously the National Bank of Ukraine reported a $406 million surplus in Ukraine's January–June 2016 balance of payments against a deficit of $1.3 billion in the same period in 2015.[70] According to (Ukraine's) State Statistics Service inflation in 2016 came down to 13.9%; while it was 43.3% in 2015 and 24.9% in 2014.[71]...In 2013, 35.9% of Ukrainian exports went to CIS countries, including eight countries other than Ukraine. Simultaneously, exports to EU countries, of which there are twenty-eight, was 26.6%.[77][78][79] By 2015 the EU became Ukraine's largest trading partner, accounting for more than a third of its trade.[80] In 2015 the Ukrainian export to Russia figure had fallen to 12.7%.[59] In 2014 Ukraine imported 23.3% of all its imports from Russia.[6] In 2017 the Ukrainian export to Russia figure was 9%.[81] In 2017 40% of Ukraine's export went to the EU and 15% to CIS countries.[81] Overall Ukraine increased its exports by 20% in 2017.[81]
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Ukraine
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  50. @Randal

    Syria wouldn’t even exist right now if it wasn’t for Russia. Part of the their strategy, for whatever reason, is to withstand the Israelis’ and NATO’s periodic temper tantrums. Of course, if the Syrians feel like the Russians are unreliable partners they can kick them out of the country any time they wish, and go it on their own.
     
    It isn't quite as simple as that, though. Russia has repeatedly proven to be an unreliable ally against US and especially Israeli power, from collaborating with the US sanctions charade against Iran to indulging Israeli impunity in carrying out acts of murderous aggression in Syria, and will have only itself to blame if, when push comes to shove, it finds Iran unwilling to go to the wall for Russia, and similarly for China, which is undoubtedly watching, to regard Russia as fundamentally unreliable.

    The latest Guardian propaganda piece highlights the kind of issue involved:

    Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, was in Moscow again last week, aligning his interests in Syria with those of Vladimir Putin. Israel forewarned Russia of last week’s attacks.
     
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/15/iraq-shock-election-result-may-be-turning-point-for-iran

    It is impossible for anyone outside the senior levels of the Russia government to know the truth, if any, in this assertion (and for sure the piece is the usual rank Israeli propaganda to be expected from the Guardian). But the Iranians will have a fair idea of what games Russia is playing and will be aware if Russia is betraying them in this kind of way.

    For sure, Russia is under no treaty-based duty to protect its allies interests when they are faced with outright Israeli aggression. But when it needs help, it will likely find that help will not be forthcoming and its allies will simply make the same point - that they are under no treaty duty to oblige.

    If Russia really thinks that it can appease the US or the Israelis (and Putin has often given the impression that he would like to do so), it would be making a huge error of judgement. The longer Israeli impunity in its acts of aggression against Russia's allies in the ME continue, the firmer that impression will become.

    I hate to be put into the position of apologizing for the Kremlin, but…

    1. Syria and Iran are not Russian allies. There is no formal obligation for Russia to either as it does wrt CSTO members.

    2. Syria is friendly to Russia because it depends on it. As Putin himself said, Assad visited Paris more frequently than he did Moscow before 2011. And unlike even Syria, Iran did not and does not recognize Crimea, and kicked Russians out of the airbase in their country almost as soon as they allowed them to use it.

    The only valid criticism which I would have opposed is going along with US sanctions against Iran.

    Otherwise, I do not see why Russia should go out of its way to make favors for these incompetent and Russophile-only-by-necessity regimes, which don’t have much in the way of economics or technology to offer Russia themselves.

    I do not expect Iran to help Russia if it “needs help,” regardless of what Russia does; and even if it does, I do not see in what way it would be useful.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    I hate to be put into the position of apologizing for the Kremlin, but…
     
    Well normally we are on the opposite sides, and some of the points you made I've made myself before now.....

    But the reality is that Israel and its lobby is a prime driver of the attempt to regime change Syria, and it is inimically and unchangingly opposed to the Russia goal of stabilising that country under the present government (or some reasonable successor). If the Russian government believes the pretexts Israel uses to justify its attacks in Syria then Putin is as naïve as some of his enemies claim him to be.

    In the end Russia will have to halt Israel's attacks on Syria or be stuck there forever trying to sustain a land of endless war - which is of course exactly what Israel intends to see there. And as we saw on April 9th, Israel will not hesitate to try to fan the flames of US-Russian confrontation there whenever opportunities arise no matter how apologetic and submissive Russia is, because in the end their goals cannot be achieved without either forcing Russia out or at least preventing it achieving any stability there.

    The argument that "Russia is not treaty bound to defend Syria or Iran" is true (which is why I made the point myself) but not particularly relevant or important in this context. There seems to be a general doubt around the world as to whether Russia is too weak to support its allies, or too scared, or is actively colluding with Israel out of either naivety or corruption. In the end, that doubt will be resolved in one of those directions if Russia continues as it is doing now. Such doubt is in itself damaging to any power, but more important will be the truth underlying the opinion.

    Perhaps the best argument I've seen to justify the current policy is that Russia's priority at the moment is getting the World Cup off without undue hitches. That's a reasonable argument for delaying the necessary confrontation until later this year, and if Russia moves then to deal with the problem I shall feel vindicated in sticking so far with the "cautious, responsible Russia" theory (despite expressing increasing concerns as the situation drags on). We shall see.
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  51. @Mitleser

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.

    In nominal terms, the US and EU are still well ahead of China in share of gobal gdp: US 24.3%, EU 21.7%, China 15%, according to the 2017 IMDF figures (per Wikipedia)
     
    https://adamtooze.com/2017/03/30/notes-global-condition-americanization-global-capital/

    It is not just that many obviously American companies dominate their sectors, but firms that appear to be European, Asian, Australian actually have large and in some cases controlling American ownership. For example, if it is hard to buy into China directly, the next best thing is to buy into the Australian mining companies that supply China. So Starrs finds that “American firms own a combined 68% of the Australian-domiciled BHP Billiton for example, which in 2012 has a stunning 14% profit-share in the $172 billion Forestry, Metals and Mining sector. More broadly, American firms own 46% of the world’s top 500 corporations (despite “only” 33% of the top 500 with US-domicile), which is almost six times greater than its nearest competitor, Japan. And note the asymmetry of cross-ownership: While the American share in many non-American corporations reaches 20% or more, the total combined foreign share of top American corporations is usually no more than 15%. Americans own much more of the world than the rest of the world owns the United States, and this asymmetric interdependence leads to asymmetric power. Perhaps one of the clearest manifestations of this is that American citizens continue to own the dominant share of global wealth at 40% or more, despite the global share of US GDP steadily declining over the past half-century to less than a quarter since 2008. Lying in between is the 36% American ownership of Gazprom (versus 64% Russian) and the 28% American ownership of Samsung Electronics (versus 63% Korean).” Yup, thats right, at the time of writing, Americans owned 36 % of Gazprom!
     

    I have seen this before, but how does this square with America’s strongly negative net international investment position?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Mercantilist foreign powers roll over their current account surpluses into American bonds rather than equity.

    In fact, creditor nations even finance the takeover of foreign enterprises by American corporations by purchasing their bond issues and lending Eurodollars to them.

    Some of this also has to do with post-crisis regulation. Dodd-Frank effectively protected the American banking market from foreign competition, whereas the reverse is not true in Europe.

    Better-developed financial markets with lower transaction costs and more composite financial markets are part of the story as well.

    https://investor.vanguard.com/etf/international

    Americans with 401k and IRA accounts buy international ETFs and thus end up owning foreign equity.

    Meanwhile German savers stuff their money in zero percent bank accounts and Chinese savers buy domestic real estate.
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  52. Mitleser says:
    @Randal

    Syria wouldn’t even exist right now if it wasn’t for Russia. Part of the their strategy, for whatever reason, is to withstand the Israelis’ and NATO’s periodic temper tantrums. Of course, if the Syrians feel like the Russians are unreliable partners they can kick them out of the country any time they wish, and go it on their own.
     
    It isn't quite as simple as that, though. Russia has repeatedly proven to be an unreliable ally against US and especially Israeli power, from collaborating with the US sanctions charade against Iran to indulging Israeli impunity in carrying out acts of murderous aggression in Syria, and will have only itself to blame if, when push comes to shove, it finds Iran unwilling to go to the wall for Russia, and similarly for China, which is undoubtedly watching, to regard Russia as fundamentally unreliable.

    The latest Guardian propaganda piece highlights the kind of issue involved:

    Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, was in Moscow again last week, aligning his interests in Syria with those of Vladimir Putin. Israel forewarned Russia of last week’s attacks.
     
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/15/iraq-shock-election-result-may-be-turning-point-for-iran

    It is impossible for anyone outside the senior levels of the Russia government to know the truth, if any, in this assertion (and for sure the piece is the usual rank Israeli propaganda to be expected from the Guardian). But the Iranians will have a fair idea of what games Russia is playing and will be aware if Russia is betraying them in this kind of way.

    For sure, Russia is under no treaty-based duty to protect its allies interests when they are faced with outright Israeli aggression. But when it needs help, it will likely find that help will not be forthcoming and its allies will simply make the same point - that they are under no treaty duty to oblige.

    If Russia really thinks that it can appease the US or the Israelis (and Putin has often given the impression that he would like to do so), it would be making a huge error of judgement. The longer Israeli impunity in its acts of aggression against Russia's allies in the ME continue, the firmer that impression will become.

    and will have only itself to blame if, when push comes to shove, it finds Iran unwilling to go to the wall for Russia, and similarly for China, which is undoubtedly watching, to regard Russia as fundamentally unreliable.

    I agree that Russia is quite unreliable.
    But the same applies to Iran* and China**.

    *remember the Iranian response to Russian bombers in Iran

    **American measures against Iran would not have been effective without China’s support

    China had agreed to support the U.S. push for UN sanctions.

    When the sanctions drive was threatened by the Iran/Turkey/Brazil fuel swap agreement (hereinafter the ITB swap) China gritted its teeth and, instead of supporting this dramatic and apparently genuine exercise in developing-world diplomacy, undercut it by acquiescing to America’s rushed riposte: the announcement that a draft sanctions resolution approved by the P5+1 would be circulated to the Security Council.

    To observers that expected China to champion the rights and interests of nations outside the Western bloc, it was not a pretty picture.
    The resolution announcement incensed Brazil and Turkey, two natural allies in China’s plans for a new, post-U.S. world order.

    Iran’s reaction to China’s actions has been muted, even though its foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, was reportedly thunderstruck when a Reuters correspondent told him about the resolution announcement on May 19 in Dushanbe.

    Within China, indignant netizens employed salty language to excoriate China’s capitulation to the United States–and its wordy, parsing efforts to justify the government’s actions.

    As China’s foreign ministry reached out to Turkey and Brazil to praise the fuel swap deal and repair China’s standing in the developing world, two complementary editorials in China’s influential Global Times–one in English for a Western audience and one in Chinese for everybody else–laid out Beijing’s case and labored to salvage China’s public image as an independent and principled world power.

    But at the same time it made it clear that the PRC was not going to attempt to exploit the ITB swap announcement in order to embarrass the United States and decouple from the sanctions drive.

    The Western media professes to believe that Chinese support was extorted by threats to come down hard on China on the issues of currency valuation and the Cheonan sinking.

    However, it appears that the situation leading up to the sanctions resolution announcement on May 18 was quite the opposite.

    The Obama administration, desperate to keep the ITB swap deal from derailing the sanctions push, was forced to finalize its negotiations with Russia and China in conditions that can charitably be described as adverse.

    Russia and China were in the position to make demands–and they did, as the New York Times reported:

    Among the many compromises that the United States accepted to get China and Russia to back new sanctions against Iran was an agreement to limit any reference to the bank — or Iran’s entire energy sector, for that matter — to the introductory paragraphs rather than the sanctions themselves, according to American officials and other diplomats, yielding a weaker resolution than the United States would have liked.

    The standoff between Washington and Beijing over what economic measures to include in the final resolution consumed the last 10 days of the negotiations, diplomats said. (3)

    Now, UN sanctions appear inevitable–thanks to China.

    http://chinamatters.blogspot.de/2018/01/you-like-iran-nuclear-deal-thank-china.html

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    • Replies: @Randal

    I agree that Russia is quite unreliable.
    But the same applies to Iran* and China**.
     
    That's true, and it's a big part of the reason they are each vulnerable. Divided and ruled.

    *remember the Iranian response to Russian bombers in Iran
     
    In fairness to the Iranians, they do have a very important clause in their constitution forbidding foreign military bases on their soil and it's probably wise for them to maintain it as far as possible. The incident seems to have been a misunderstanding caused by some Iranian government figures going a bit too far, too fast.

    Not quite on the level of letting an enemy use your military for free fire target practice, or enabling the US to wage unlimited economic warfare against you.
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  53. Dmitry says:

    Tangentially to issue of unsuccessful sanctions – I just finished a bar of Roshen chocolate.

    Can someone explain why they started to write English on the front of the packaging nowadays, even though there is no English on the back, and they don’t export to any English speaking countries?

    I guess Ukrainians now see the English writing as more ‘sophisticated’.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Tangentially to issue of unsuccessful sanctions – I just finished a bar of Roshen chocolate.
     
    You are probably confused. There have been no attempts by the Kremlin to impose any kind of sanctions on the Ukraine. Russia remains Ukraine's No.1 trading partner; trade is up some 30% in the Q1 2018. Infuriating.
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  54. @Dmitry
    Tangentially to issue of unsuccessful sanctions - I just finished a bar of Roshen chocolate.

    Can someone explain why they started to write English on the front of the packaging nowadays, even though there is no English on the back, and they don't export to any English speaking countries?

    I guess Ukrainians now see the English writing as more 'sophisticated'.

    Tangentially to issue of unsuccessful sanctions – I just finished a bar of Roshen chocolate.

    You are probably confused. There have been no attempts by the Kremlin to impose any kind of sanctions on the Ukraine. Russia remains Ukraine’s No.1 trading partner; trade is up some 30% in the Q1 2018. Infuriating.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    There have been no attempts by the Kremlin to impose any kind of sanctions on the Ukraine.

    While there may not be a general ban on Ukrainian imports, according to Wiki a Russian import ban on (Po)Roshen(ko) chocolates has been in place since July 2013 (date is interesting):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roshen
    , @Philip Owen
    The customs blockade ever stopped on products that were undercutting major Russian firms, like Pinchuk's pipes.
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  55. @Anatoly Karlin
    I have seen this before, but how does this square with America's strongly negative net international investment position?

    Mercantilist foreign powers roll over their current account surpluses into American bonds rather than equity.

    In fact, creditor nations even finance the takeover of foreign enterprises by American corporations by purchasing their bond issues and lending Eurodollars to them.

    Some of this also has to do with post-crisis regulation. Dodd-Frank effectively protected the American banking market from foreign competition, whereas the reverse is not true in Europe.

    Better-developed financial markets with lower transaction costs and more composite financial markets are part of the story as well.

    https://investor.vanguard.com/etf/international

    Americans with 401k and IRA accounts buy international ETFs and thus end up owning foreign equity.

    Meanwhile German savers stuff their money in zero percent bank accounts and Chinese savers buy domestic real estate.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
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  56. @songbird
    That's interesting: I never would have supposed that the Germans would have built a 4.5 km bridge, during WW2. Seems like a pretty crazy thing to do.

    Seems like a pretty crazy thing to do.

    According to Wiki the story is a bit more complicated:

    The idea of this bridge was first conceived by Albert Speer in early 1943.[5] He hoped that the bridge would help spearhead the German invasion of the North Caucasus, but history ruled that it would help the Wehrmacht to retreat: from January to October 1943 the retreat of the German Caucasus Army/Army Group A, took place across the Strait of Kerch. To support the retreat the German Organisation Todt (OT) had built a ropeway across the Kerch Strait with a daily capacity of 1,000 tons. On 7 March 1943 Hitler ordered the construction of a combined road and railway bridge over the Strait of Kerch within 6 months. In April 1943, the OT had started with the construction of a combined iron road and railway war-bridge across the Strait of Kerch. On 1 September 1943, concentrated Soviet attacks began on the remnants of the bridgehead, accelerating the German retreat. At this time the new bridge was not yet completed (only one third was completed). As part of the German retreat, the Wehrmacht blasted the already completed parts of the bridge.[6]

    The 4.5-kilometre (2.8 mi) bridge was actually built in the summer of 1944 after the liberation of the Crimea by the Red Army from the materials left on the site by the Wehrmacht. It was destroyed within six months by flowing ice,[7] due to the absence of groynes.

    I was initially a bit confused by the lengths of the various bridges: 4.5 km for the WWII one, 19km for today. Here is a map showing the location of the new bridge:

    and here is one of the strait in general, presumably the WWII German/Russian bridge was to the north near Port Kavkaz:

    Read More
    • Replies: @songbird
    Thanks, for the overview. That's an interesting timeline. A bit surprising to me that the plan was ever formulated.
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  57. @Felix Keverich

    Tangentially to issue of unsuccessful sanctions – I just finished a bar of Roshen chocolate.
     
    You are probably confused. There have been no attempts by the Kremlin to impose any kind of sanctions on the Ukraine. Russia remains Ukraine's No.1 trading partner; trade is up some 30% in the Q1 2018. Infuriating.

    There have been no attempts by the Kremlin to impose any kind of sanctions on the Ukraine.

    While there may not be a general ban on Ukrainian imports, according to Wiki a Russian import ban on (Po)Roshen(ko) chocolates has been in place since July 2013 (date is interesting):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roshen

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    I googled and found an article that says the ban only applied to products from Roshen factories in the Ukraine. Dmitry, if you're still here, tell us, where your chocolate bar was made?
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  58. @Thorfinnsson
    Russia is a net exporter. Requiring exports of oil to be paid for in Roubles begs the question--where will customers get the Roubles?

    Option one: purchase Roubles, putting upward pressure on its value and thus harming import substitution efforts.

    Option two: lend Roubles to foreign customers instead of domestic investors.

    Both bad ideas.

    A better idea is to accept Euros, Yen, and Won for oil. Then use the money to import valuable machinery.

    Probably you’re right.

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  59. @for-the-record
    There have been no attempts by the Kremlin to impose any kind of sanctions on the Ukraine.

    While there may not be a general ban on Ukrainian imports, according to Wiki a Russian import ban on (Po)Roshen(ko) chocolates has been in place since July 2013 (date is interesting):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roshen

    I googled and found an article that says the ban only applied to products from Roshen factories in the Ukraine. Dmitry, if you’re still here, tell us, where your chocolate bar was made?

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    the ban only applied to products from Roshen factories in the Ukraine

    According to Wiki it's not made in Russia any more, as the Lipetsk factory was liquidated.
    , @Philip Owen
    Sugar comes into it. Ukraine supplied a lot of best sugar to Russia Keeping out Ukrainian sugar has made new beet mills, especially the big one in Penza very profitable. Next stop lemonade (see John Helmer).
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  60. Jon0815 says:
    @Randal
    For some relevant context, here's one projection for the US share of global gdp, ppp basis:

    2012: 16.21%
    2013: 15.95%
    2014: 15.81%
    2015: 15.74%
    2016: 15.5%
    2017: 15.29%
    2018: 15.1%
    2019: 14.84%
    2020: 14.57%
    2021: 14.29%
    2022: 14.01%
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/270267/united-states-share-of-global-gross-domestic-product-gdp/

    Nor is this ongong relative decline in the basic economic power that enables the US's abuse of secondary sanctions an unexpected, controversial or new development. It's a decline that has been ongoing for decades now, and reflects a general catching up of the rest of the world with the massive lead established by the European states (and European offshoots, including the US) over previous centuries. The European states have experienced the same relative decline: the current EU members accounted for 30% of global gdp in 1980, but less than 17% now.

    A really dominant global power historically has needed to account for around a quarter or more of world gdp. That was (just about) true for the British Empire and certainly of the US during its dominant C20th years, but probably never of the Soviet Union.

    So on the basis of the fundamentals, there's hope, and the EU and China each account for a greater share of the world economy than the US.

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.

    In nominal terms, the US and EU are still well ahead of China in share of gobal gdp: US 24.3%, EU 21.7%, China 15%, according to the 2017 IMDF figures (per Wikipedia)

    On the face of it, though, any kind of coordinated response from Europe and China would easily see off the US abuse of its financial power, and the fact that this has not happened and likely will not happen any time soon reflects Europe's continuing post-WW2 subordination to the US and lack of real sovereignty. But underlying reality and exchange rate based power surely cannot continue to diverge forever, and the writing must be on the wall for the US's control over Europe that enables its continued global power. Indeed, one could view the manufactured hysteria over and escalating confrontations of Russia as reflecting US regime fear of this impending end. It provides a possible explanation of why US elites have chosen to alienate Russia rather than ally with it in the post-Soviet era, when on the face of it the sensible course would have been to bring Russia on board as an ally against the actual long term rival, China.

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.

    Although it is still down significantly from the USA’s post-Cold War peak of 29.7% of world GDP in 1999.

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    • Replies: @Randal
    Indeed, but see the points made at the link supplied by mitleser above.
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  61. Randal says:
    @Mitleser

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.

    In nominal terms, the US and EU are still well ahead of China in share of gobal gdp: US 24.3%, EU 21.7%, China 15%, according to the 2017 IMDF figures (per Wikipedia)
     
    https://adamtooze.com/2017/03/30/notes-global-condition-americanization-global-capital/

    It is not just that many obviously American companies dominate their sectors, but firms that appear to be European, Asian, Australian actually have large and in some cases controlling American ownership. For example, if it is hard to buy into China directly, the next best thing is to buy into the Australian mining companies that supply China. So Starrs finds that “American firms own a combined 68% of the Australian-domiciled BHP Billiton for example, which in 2012 has a stunning 14% profit-share in the $172 billion Forestry, Metals and Mining sector. More broadly, American firms own 46% of the world’s top 500 corporations (despite “only” 33% of the top 500 with US-domicile), which is almost six times greater than its nearest competitor, Japan. And note the asymmetry of cross-ownership: While the American share in many non-American corporations reaches 20% or more, the total combined foreign share of top American corporations is usually no more than 15%. Americans own much more of the world than the rest of the world owns the United States, and this asymmetric interdependence leads to asymmetric power. Perhaps one of the clearest manifestations of this is that American citizens continue to own the dominant share of global wealth at 40% or more, despite the global share of US GDP steadily declining over the past half-century to less than a quarter since 2008. Lying in between is the 36% American ownership of Gazprom (versus 64% Russian) and the 28% American ownership of Samsung Electronics (versus 63% Korean).” Yup, thats right, at the time of writing, Americans owned 36 % of Gazprom!
     

    Good stuff, thanks. Illustrates how the US has been able to sustain its power, and some of what makes its economic warfare so persistently effective and so damnably sticky.

    At least it gives a purpose for the leftist anti-globalism that is so prevalent these days. I had always regarded them as just utterly useless and mostly counterproductive, but if they can ever actually again achieve any old school revolutionary expropriations it will help to curtail US power.

    More generally, Americans look more and more like the proverbial “market-dominant minority” on the global scale. Things will not go well for them if and when peoples’ hatred of them ever gets to the stage where it can overcome their military enforcers and the self-interest of those non-Americans who protect American interests for their own benefit.

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  62. @Felix Keverich
    I googled and found an article that says the ban only applied to products from Roshen factories in the Ukraine. Dmitry, if you're still here, tell us, where your chocolate bar was made?

    the ban only applied to products from Roshen factories in the Ukraine

    According to Wiki it’s not made in Russia any more, as the Lipetsk factory was liquidated.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Could be a very old chocolate bar. They are also made in Lithuania and Hungary.
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  63. Randal says:
    @Mitleser

    and will have only itself to blame if, when push comes to shove, it finds Iran unwilling to go to the wall for Russia, and similarly for China, which is undoubtedly watching, to regard Russia as fundamentally unreliable.
     
    I agree that Russia is quite unreliable.
    But the same applies to Iran* and China**.

    *remember the Iranian response to Russian bombers in Iran

    **American measures against Iran would not have been effective without China's support

    China had agreed to support the U.S. push for UN sanctions.

    When the sanctions drive was threatened by the Iran/Turkey/Brazil fuel swap agreement (hereinafter the ITB swap) China gritted its teeth and, instead of supporting this dramatic and apparently genuine exercise in developing-world diplomacy, undercut it by acquiescing to America's rushed riposte: the announcement that a draft sanctions resolution approved by the P5+1 would be circulated to the Security Council.

    To observers that expected China to champion the rights and interests of nations outside the Western bloc, it was not a pretty picture.
    The resolution announcement incensed Brazil and Turkey, two natural allies in China's plans for a new, post-U.S. world order.

    Iran's reaction to China's actions has been muted, even though its foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, was reportedly thunderstruck when a Reuters correspondent told him about the resolution announcement on May 19 in Dushanbe.

    Within China, indignant netizens employed salty language to excoriate China's capitulation to the United States--and its wordy, parsing efforts to justify the government's actions.
     

    As China's foreign ministry reached out to Turkey and Brazil to praise the fuel swap deal and repair China's standing in the developing world, two complementary editorials in China's influential Global Times--one in English for a Western audience and one in Chinese for everybody else--laid out Beijing's case and labored to salvage China's public image as an independent and principled world power.

    But at the same time it made it clear that the PRC was not going to attempt to exploit the ITB swap announcement in order to embarrass the United States and decouple from the sanctions drive.
     

    The Western media professes to believe that Chinese support was extorted by threats to come down hard on China on the issues of currency valuation and the Cheonan sinking.

    However, it appears that the situation leading up to the sanctions resolution announcement on May 18 was quite the opposite.

    The Obama administration, desperate to keep the ITB swap deal from derailing the sanctions push, was forced to finalize its negotiations with Russia and China in conditions that can charitably be described as adverse.

    Russia and China were in the position to make demands--and they did, as the New York Times reported:

    Among the many compromises that the United States accepted to get China and Russia to back new sanctions against Iran was an agreement to limit any reference to the bank — or Iran’s entire energy sector, for that matter — to the introductory paragraphs rather than the sanctions themselves, according to American officials and other diplomats, yielding a weaker resolution than the United States would have liked.

    The standoff between Washington and Beijing over what economic measures to include in the final resolution consumed the last 10 days of the negotiations, diplomats said. (3)

    Now, UN sanctions appear inevitable--thanks to China.
     
    http://chinamatters.blogspot.de/2018/01/you-like-iran-nuclear-deal-thank-china.html

    I agree that Russia is quite unreliable.
    But the same applies to Iran* and China**.

    That’s true, and it’s a big part of the reason they are each vulnerable. Divided and ruled.

    *remember the Iranian response to Russian bombers in Iran

    In fairness to the Iranians, they do have a very important clause in their constitution forbidding foreign military bases on their soil and it’s probably wise for them to maintain it as far as possible. The incident seems to have been a misunderstanding caused by some Iranian government figures going a bit too far, too fast.

    Not quite on the level of letting an enemy use your military for free fire target practice, or enabling the US to wage unlimited economic warfare against you.

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  64. @for-the-record
    the ban only applied to products from Roshen factories in the Ukraine

    According to Wiki it's not made in Russia any more, as the Lipetsk factory was liquidated.

    Could be a very old chocolate bar. They are also made in Lithuania and Hungary.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    It's just a standard bar from Ukraine.

    My question is not about sanctions on Roshen though (apologies for confusion). But the fact they are using so much English writing (completely English front of packaging), even when it's chocolate bars for internal Ukrainian consumption. I'll quickly snap a picture


    https://i.imgur.com/1ZDtPsm.jpg?1


    https://i.imgur.com/i5ZaZel.jpg?1

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  65. Randal says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    I hate to be put into the position of apologizing for the Kremlin, but...

    1. Syria and Iran are not Russian allies. There is no formal obligation for Russia to either as it does wrt CSTO members.

    2. Syria is friendly to Russia because it depends on it. As Putin himself said, Assad visited Paris more frequently than he did Moscow before 2011. And unlike even Syria, Iran did not and does not recognize Crimea, and kicked Russians out of the airbase in their country almost as soon as they allowed them to use it.

    The only valid criticism which I would have opposed is going along with US sanctions against Iran.

    Otherwise, I do not see why Russia should go out of its way to make favors for these incompetent and Russophile-only-by-necessity regimes, which don't have much in the way of economics or technology to offer Russia themselves.

    I do not expect Iran to help Russia if it "needs help," regardless of what Russia does; and even if it does, I do not see in what way it would be useful.

    I hate to be put into the position of apologizing for the Kremlin, but…

    Well normally we are on the opposite sides, and some of the points you made I’ve made myself before now…..

    But the reality is that Israel and its lobby is a prime driver of the attempt to regime change Syria, and it is inimically and unchangingly opposed to the Russia goal of stabilising that country under the present government (or some reasonable successor). If the Russian government believes the pretexts Israel uses to justify its attacks in Syria then Putin is as naïve as some of his enemies claim him to be.

    In the end Russia will have to halt Israel’s attacks on Syria or be stuck there forever trying to sustain a land of endless war – which is of course exactly what Israel intends to see there. And as we saw on April 9th, Israel will not hesitate to try to fan the flames of US-Russian confrontation there whenever opportunities arise no matter how apologetic and submissive Russia is, because in the end their goals cannot be achieved without either forcing Russia out or at least preventing it achieving any stability there.

    The argument that “Russia is not treaty bound to defend Syria or Iran” is true (which is why I made the point myself) but not particularly relevant or important in this context. There seems to be a general doubt around the world as to whether Russia is too weak to support its allies, or too scared, or is actively colluding with Israel out of either naivety or corruption. In the end, that doubt will be resolved in one of those directions if Russia continues as it is doing now. Such doubt is in itself damaging to any power, but more important will be the truth underlying the opinion.

    Perhaps the best argument I’ve seen to justify the current policy is that Russia’s priority at the moment is getting the World Cup off without undue hitches. That’s a reasonable argument for delaying the necessary confrontation until later this year, and if Russia moves then to deal with the problem I shall feel vindicated in sticking so far with the “cautious, responsible Russia” theory (despite expressing increasing concerns as the situation drags on). We shall see.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    The only world in which confrontation with Israel over Syria will be worth it for Russia is if it is seriously planning to use that as a pretext to destroy Ukraine.

    I really doubt that's the case.

    If push comes to shove, it will be Israel that, well, shoves Russia out of Syria. With all the attendant humiliations, plus sealing Syria's fate anyway.

    Here is how I see things, anyway. By fomenting color revolutions in the Near Abroad, the US has unacceptably waded into Russia's rightful sphere of influence. They are lucky to get away with it because the Kremlin is full of cucks and compradors. By extension, Russia in Syria is playing a dangerous and delicate game where it is wading into what several different countries see as their sphere of influence (Israel, the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran). There is only so much some of these players are willing to accept until they give Russia the boot (which the first three, at any rate, are perfectly capable of).

    Unless there's a long-range master plan behind it, pushing things too hard in Syria risks catastrophe. As reiner Tor always notes, Israeli strikes on Syria have been a fact of life well before Russia got involved, so Russia trying to put an end to that - as opposed to drawing a red line on novel US adventures - would be presumptuous in the extreme. Not sure that Israel would tolerate it.
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  66. Randal says:
    @Jon0815

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.
     
    Although it is still down significantly from the USA's post-Cold War peak of 29.7% of world GDP in 1999.

    Indeed, but see the points made at the link supplied by mitleser above.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    US equity is currently priced at a premium to other countries: https://www.starcapital.de/en/research/stock-market-valuation/

    This sort of thing is cyclical. Take a look at this article from 1989: http://articles.latimes.com/1989-07-10/business/fi-2595_1_richest-people

    In fact in 1990 the Tokyo Stock Exchange accounted for 60% of global stock market market capitalization.

    In addition to the valuation premium in America at the moment, there's the global concentration of "tech" in America, which is historically unusual.

    China doesn't have a fully convertible currency and one third of corporate equity is state owned.

    Focusing on the Forbes 2000 also means it ignores a lot of wealth such as the Mittelstand firms of Germany.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a1/Mittelstand_pyramide.PNG

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  67. @Randal
    Indeed, but see the points made at the link supplied by mitleser above.

    US equity is currently priced at a premium to other countries: https://www.starcapital.de/en/research/stock-market-valuation/

    This sort of thing is cyclical. Take a look at this article from 1989: http://articles.latimes.com/1989-07-10/business/fi-2595_1_richest-people

    In fact in 1990 the Tokyo Stock Exchange accounted for 60% of global stock market market capitalization.

    In addition to the valuation premium in America at the moment, there’s the global concentration of “tech” in America, which is historically unusual.

    China doesn’t have a fully convertible currency and one third of corporate equity is state owned.

    Focusing on the Forbes 2000 also means it ignores a lot of wealth such as the Mittelstand firms of Germany.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    This sort of thing is cyclical
     
    It's also mostly very dependent on the value of the dollar, and can change very quickly - much more quickly I'd think than the economic fundamentals (at least as far as wealth levels are concerned, not necessarily corporate ownership).

    But it still seems a legitimate point that casts some more light on the situation, even taking into account your responses.
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  68. @Randal

    I hate to be put into the position of apologizing for the Kremlin, but…
     
    Well normally we are on the opposite sides, and some of the points you made I've made myself before now.....

    But the reality is that Israel and its lobby is a prime driver of the attempt to regime change Syria, and it is inimically and unchangingly opposed to the Russia goal of stabilising that country under the present government (or some reasonable successor). If the Russian government believes the pretexts Israel uses to justify its attacks in Syria then Putin is as naïve as some of his enemies claim him to be.

    In the end Russia will have to halt Israel's attacks on Syria or be stuck there forever trying to sustain a land of endless war - which is of course exactly what Israel intends to see there. And as we saw on April 9th, Israel will not hesitate to try to fan the flames of US-Russian confrontation there whenever opportunities arise no matter how apologetic and submissive Russia is, because in the end their goals cannot be achieved without either forcing Russia out or at least preventing it achieving any stability there.

    The argument that "Russia is not treaty bound to defend Syria or Iran" is true (which is why I made the point myself) but not particularly relevant or important in this context. There seems to be a general doubt around the world as to whether Russia is too weak to support its allies, or too scared, or is actively colluding with Israel out of either naivety or corruption. In the end, that doubt will be resolved in one of those directions if Russia continues as it is doing now. Such doubt is in itself damaging to any power, but more important will be the truth underlying the opinion.

    Perhaps the best argument I've seen to justify the current policy is that Russia's priority at the moment is getting the World Cup off without undue hitches. That's a reasonable argument for delaying the necessary confrontation until later this year, and if Russia moves then to deal with the problem I shall feel vindicated in sticking so far with the "cautious, responsible Russia" theory (despite expressing increasing concerns as the situation drags on). We shall see.

    The only world in which confrontation with Israel over Syria will be worth it for Russia is if it is seriously planning to use that as a pretext to destroy Ukraine.

    I really doubt that’s the case.

    If push comes to shove, it will be Israel that, well, shoves Russia out of Syria. With all the attendant humiliations, plus sealing Syria’s fate anyway.

    Here is how I see things, anyway. By fomenting color revolutions in the Near Abroad, the US has unacceptably waded into Russia’s rightful sphere of influence. They are lucky to get away with it because the Kremlin is full of cucks and compradors. By extension, Russia in Syria is playing a dangerous and delicate game where it is wading into what several different countries see as their sphere of influence (Israel, the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran). There is only so much some of these players are willing to accept until they give Russia the boot (which the first three, at any rate, are perfectly capable of).

    Unless there’s a long-range master plan behind it, pushing things too hard in Syria risks catastrophe. As reiner Tor always notes, Israeli strikes on Syria have been a fact of life well before Russia got involved, so Russia trying to put an end to that – as opposed to drawing a red line on novel US adventures – would be presumptuous in the extreme. Not sure that Israel would tolerate it.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    If push comes to shove, it will be Israel that, well, shoves Russia out of Syria. With all the attendant humiliations, plus sealing Syria’s fate anyway.
     
    How many airfields does Israel operate? How many missiles does it take to shut down an Israeli airfield?

    I'm no military expert, but you may be overestimating Jewish military prowess. They couldn't even shove Hezbollah from Southern Lebanon, remember?
    , @Randal
    I think you overstate Israeli capabilities wrt Russia. We've already seen the US blink when face with the prospect of taking on Russia in Syria, and they do have the capability to destroy the Russian presence there at little risk to their homeland - the risks and costs are just too high for something that is basically optional.

    Israel's claims of an existential requirement to attack Syria and its allies at will are hogwash. It's just something they do because they can. If Russia tells them to stop one day, they will appraise the situation coldly as to whether Russia is making a bluff they can call with massive strikes on Syria, or a serious statement of intent. As long as they think it is the latter, they will back down.

    Israel cannot openly invade Syria in the face of Russian opposition, and nor can it hope to wipe out the Russian presence in Syria without facing unacceptable costs in terms of retaliatory attacks. Nor can Turkey for that matter - we've already seen them brought to heel for one minor incident. And nor can Israel long sustain a situation in which the Syrians are firing back at Israel itself in tit for tat responses to Israeli attacks - they will be forced to stop the attacks.

    The current level of Israeli attacks on Syria is well beyond anything that can be tolerated if the country is to be stabilised. Russia certainly can stop them. The question is whether it is motivated to do so once the appropriate conditions have been achieved (there are plenty of arguments for not having done so previously). If it isn't, then imo it is either foolish weakness or active collaboration with Israel. Russia can obviously collaborate with Israel if it chooses, but it will pay a huge price in the end for either, because as I noted, Israeli goals in Syria are diametrically opposed to Russia's and no amount of pretence or pandering can change that.
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  69. @Felix Keverich
    Terrible analogy: Erdogan was the agressor a conflict with Russia, attacking Russian plane without provocation. Similarily, the West instigated its latest conflict with Russia, staging a coup in the Ukraine, overthrowing a Russia-friendly leader. It was Russia's response to this agression that brought Western sanctions.

    At stake is much bigger issue than Putin's pride: we're talking about Russia's soveregnty, including the right to defend its legitimate interests and conduct independent foreign policy. This is what the US is trying to deny us through sanctions.

    The Russian blockade of Ukraine for the crime of talking to the EU timber women leverage preceded the Maidan. Ukrainian oligrach submission triggered the Maidan.

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    • Replies: @Gerard2
    Yes, the ban on Poroshenko's chocolate and Pinchuk's pipes and a fair few other things from other CIA/EU orientated parasitic Ukrainian oligarchs is what preceded Maidan ...an entirely reasonable ban by Russia as 3-way negotiations were refused by the scumbag Europeans ( probably under American direction)..and was in the context of Yanukovich extorting Russia over Naval base renewal

    Ukrainian oligarch submission triggered the Maidan
     
    .errrm no...Ukrainian Oligarch retribution against Russian is what triggered this entirely fake Maidan garbage. Pinchuk,Kolomoisky et.al and even a few more oligarchs previously ( and rather ludicrously) labeled as "pro-Russian" initiated this.

    You're probably too dim to know ,but the EU sudden offer of the Association Agreement possibility was based solely on the acceleration of the Eurasian Economic Union project by Russia, an entirely sensible project that made such common sense and was probably Ukraine's only hope of eventual accession into the EU. True Yanukovich was much better than Yushchenko, but what did he actually do to merit this stupid Association Agreement offer that Yushchenko in 5 years couldn't get?

    and "blockade of Ukraine " what an overblown and stupid exaggeration of the facts
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  70. @Spisarevski

    Alexey Kudrin was going to be appointed to a senior post in the Russian government have been completely discredited. He has instead been appointed to be head of the National Audit Office, which is perhaps more humiliating than ignoring him entirely.
     
    Is this really true?
    He said that his position is equivalent in status to that of a vice premier. Below at 1:35
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcZLKl7O0yE

    Hopefully you're right though, and the position is as irrelevant as you say, regardless of its official status.

    The new law is good, let's hope it gets implemented properly.

    The Federal Antimonopoly Service once meant nothing. Medvedev failed to support it against the Customs Service. Putin turned it into the main review body on supporting foreign and state investment. Nabullina transformed the Russian banking system with intense auditing activity. Kudrin could come out of this as Mr Clean Government.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Nabullina transformed the Russian banking system with intense auditing activity.
     
    She is the ambitious head of the Russian Central Bank. Auditing alone would not have been enough.
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  71. @Felix Keverich

    Tangentially to issue of unsuccessful sanctions – I just finished a bar of Roshen chocolate.
     
    You are probably confused. There have been no attempts by the Kremlin to impose any kind of sanctions on the Ukraine. Russia remains Ukraine's No.1 trading partner; trade is up some 30% in the Q1 2018. Infuriating.

    The customs blockade ever stopped on products that were undercutting major Russian firms, like Pinchuk’s pipes.

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  72. Mr. Hack says:
    @Gerard2

    Russia will increasingly suffer economically for its malfeasance in Ukraine. Barbaric, clumsy behavior should not be tolerated or countenanced. It’s really not all that complicated.
     
    LOL......with the amount of trade and investment that Ukraine does with America and Canada, it's probably more accurate to say that Ukraine is the country more sanctioned than Russia. An abysmal amount of trade from it's Nazi-Bandera lobby idiot CIA asset freaks. Any sanctions from the west on Russia seem to affect Ukraine more than Russia itself. Shows you how stupid the "Ukrainians" are in power in "Ukraine"......the same idiot thinking that made Saakashvili a governor in Odessa..even though he's a wanted criminal in supposed ally Gruzia who they are supposed to be on a joint-path of reorientation towards the west and EU.



    How dumb do you have to be not to know this?

    Tell me seriously Mr Hack,....are you a paedophile?

    Your prognostications for Ukraine’s economy seem a little too glib to be accurate. Sure for a year and a half after Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea, things slowed down, but over the last year and a half, Ukraine’s economy has been recovering quite nicely (it would be even better for Ukraine, as it would be for Russia, if Ukraine had not been provoked into a senseless war with Russia):

    Late in July 2016, the State Statistics Service of Ukraine reported that, compared with June 2015, real wages had increased by 17.3%.[69] Simultaneously the National Bank of Ukraine reported a $406 million surplus in Ukraine’s January–June 2016 balance of payments against a deficit of $1.3 billion in the same period in 2015.[70] According to (Ukraine’s) State Statistics Service inflation in 2016 came down to 13.9%; while it was 43.3% in 2015 and 24.9% in 2014.[71]…In 2013, 35.9% of Ukrainian exports went to CIS countries, including eight countries other than Ukraine. Simultaneously, exports to EU countries, of which there are twenty-eight, was 26.6%.[77][78][79] By 2015 the EU became Ukraine’s largest trading partner, accounting for more than a third of its trade.[80] In 2015 the Ukrainian export to Russia figure had fallen to 12.7%.[59] In 2014 Ukraine imported 23.3% of all its imports from Russia.[6] In 2017 the Ukrainian export to Russia figure was 9%.[81] In 2017 40% of Ukraine’s export went to the EU and 15% to CIS countries.[81] Overall Ukraine increased its exports by 20% in 2017.[81]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Ukraine

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    • Replies: @Gerard2
    Not particularly, exports are still 50% less then what they were pre-illegal Nazi coup. So the EU have (belatedly) taken up the slack from Russia refusing to take exports from Ukraine in many sectors....so what? It's still way below satisfactory levels and for ,most product areas are still hostage to where Russia exports to the EU are increasing, decreasing or staying the same...because much of Ukrainian industry is still highly compatible with Russia's

    So it's export market is garbage and has no long-term viability
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  73. @Felix Keverich
    I googled and found an article that says the ban only applied to products from Roshen factories in the Ukraine. Dmitry, if you're still here, tell us, where your chocolate bar was made?

    Sugar comes into it. Ukraine supplied a lot of best sugar to Russia Keeping out Ukrainian sugar has made new beet mills, especially the big one in Penza very profitable. Next stop lemonade (see John Helmer).

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  74. Gerard2 says:
    @Philip Owen
    The Russian blockade of Ukraine for the crime of talking to the EU timber women leverage preceded the Maidan. Ukrainian oligrach submission triggered the Maidan.

    Yes, the ban on Poroshenko’s chocolate and Pinchuk’s pipes and a fair few other things from other CIA/EU orientated parasitic Ukrainian oligarchs is what preceded Maidan …an entirely reasonable ban by Russia as 3-way negotiations were refused by the scumbag Europeans ( probably under American direction)..and was in the context of Yanukovich extorting Russia over Naval base renewal

    Ukrainian oligarch submission triggered the Maidan

    .errrm no…Ukrainian Oligarch retribution against Russian is what triggered this entirely fake Maidan garbage. Pinchuk,Kolomoisky et.al and even a few more oligarchs previously ( and rather ludicrously) labeled as “pro-Russian” initiated this.

    You’re probably too dim to know ,but the EU sudden offer of the Association Agreement possibility was based solely on the acceleration of the Eurasian Economic Union project by Russia, an entirely sensible project that made such common sense and was probably Ukraine’s only hope of eventual accession into the EU. True Yanukovich was much better than Yushchenko, but what did he actually do to merit this stupid Association Agreement offer that Yushchenko in 5 years couldn’t get?

    and “blockade of Ukraine ” what an overblown and stupid exaggeration of the facts

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  75. Mitleser says:
    @Philip Owen
    The Federal Antimonopoly Service once meant nothing. Medvedev failed to support it against the Customs Service. Putin turned it into the main review body on supporting foreign and state investment. Nabullina transformed the Russian banking system with intense auditing activity. Kudrin could come out of this as Mr Clean Government.

    Nabullina transformed the Russian banking system with intense auditing activity.

    She is the ambitious head of the Russian Central Bank. Auditing alone would not have been enough.

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  76. @Randal
    For some relevant context, here's one projection for the US share of global gdp, ppp basis:

    2012: 16.21%
    2013: 15.95%
    2014: 15.81%
    2015: 15.74%
    2016: 15.5%
    2017: 15.29%
    2018: 15.1%
    2019: 14.84%
    2020: 14.57%
    2021: 14.29%
    2022: 14.01%
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/270267/united-states-share-of-global-gross-domestic-product-gdp/

    Nor is this ongong relative decline in the basic economic power that enables the US's abuse of secondary sanctions an unexpected, controversial or new development. It's a decline that has been ongoing for decades now, and reflects a general catching up of the rest of the world with the massive lead established by the European states (and European offshoots, including the US) over previous centuries. The European states have experienced the same relative decline: the current EU members accounted for 30% of global gdp in 1980, but less than 17% now.

    A really dominant global power historically has needed to account for around a quarter or more of world gdp. That was (just about) true for the British Empire and certainly of the US during its dominant C20th years, but probably never of the Soviet Union.

    So on the basis of the fundamentals, there's hope, and the EU and China each account for a greater share of the world economy than the US.

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.

    In nominal terms, the US and EU are still well ahead of China in share of gobal gdp: US 24.3%, EU 21.7%, China 15%, according to the 2017 IMDF figures (per Wikipedia)

    On the face of it, though, any kind of coordinated response from Europe and China would easily see off the US abuse of its financial power, and the fact that this has not happened and likely will not happen any time soon reflects Europe's continuing post-WW2 subordination to the US and lack of real sovereignty. But underlying reality and exchange rate based power surely cannot continue to diverge forever, and the writing must be on the wall for the US's control over Europe that enables its continued global power. Indeed, one could view the manufactured hysteria over and escalating confrontations of Russia as reflecting US regime fear of this impending end. It provides a possible explanation of why US elites have chosen to alienate Russia rather than ally with it in the post-Soviet era, when on the face of it the sensible course would have been to bring Russia on board as an ally against the actual long term rival, China.

    Appreciate your perspective and the GDP stats.

    Muslim-dominated African-plagued Europe will be a chaotic, violent, balkanized, impoverished mess. Not too concerned about Europe as a major medium-term to longer-term economic competitor.

    China will be bounding farther ahead of Eurabia and the USA alike.

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  77. @Anatoly Karlin
    The only world in which confrontation with Israel over Syria will be worth it for Russia is if it is seriously planning to use that as a pretext to destroy Ukraine.

    I really doubt that's the case.

    If push comes to shove, it will be Israel that, well, shoves Russia out of Syria. With all the attendant humiliations, plus sealing Syria's fate anyway.

    Here is how I see things, anyway. By fomenting color revolutions in the Near Abroad, the US has unacceptably waded into Russia's rightful sphere of influence. They are lucky to get away with it because the Kremlin is full of cucks and compradors. By extension, Russia in Syria is playing a dangerous and delicate game where it is wading into what several different countries see as their sphere of influence (Israel, the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran). There is only so much some of these players are willing to accept until they give Russia the boot (which the first three, at any rate, are perfectly capable of).

    Unless there's a long-range master plan behind it, pushing things too hard in Syria risks catastrophe. As reiner Tor always notes, Israeli strikes on Syria have been a fact of life well before Russia got involved, so Russia trying to put an end to that - as opposed to drawing a red line on novel US adventures - would be presumptuous in the extreme. Not sure that Israel would tolerate it.

    If push comes to shove, it will be Israel that, well, shoves Russia out of Syria. With all the attendant humiliations, plus sealing Syria’s fate anyway.

    How many airfields does Israel operate? How many missiles does it take to shut down an Israeli airfield?

    I’m no military expert, but you may be overestimating Jewish military prowess. They couldn’t even shove Hezbollah from Southern Lebanon, remember?

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  78. @Randal
    Such links work both ways, though.

    The reality remains imo that the key is US domination of Europe. Clearly on either ppp or nominal figures, Europe and China combined massively outweigh the US. Their inability to combine effectively to resist the arbitrary exercise of US economic power is down to the refusal of European regimes to exercise genuine independence (and therefore sovereignty) against US impositions.

    If the world is tired of arbitrary US government exercise of power, I don’t blame them. But just wait and see how they like arbitrary CHINESE government power. Oh boy.

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    • Replies: @Randal
    Sufficient unto the day.....
    , @reiner Tor
    As I wrote elsewhere, China in its current form is an asshole, but a rational asshole. It doesn't care how you govern your country, as long as business is good for them. You can talk to them on a rational basis, and can come to an understanding. Obviously they will take from you if they feel they need it a lot and feel sufficiently strong to get it (see South China Sea), but you can talk to them.

    (Russia is similar. Russia doesn't give a shit about Russian minorities in your country, as long as you are supportive enough of Russian oligarchic interests and foreign policy goals. That might have been a way forward for the Baltic states back when it was still feasible in the 1990s. Probably it would've been easier to kick out Russians from their countries while being friendly to Russia itself, than being hostile to Russia and joining the West - the West allows them not to grant citizenship to all Russians there, but it doesn't allow them harder discrimination against them, so reducing their numbers is not so easy. Similarly, Ukraine could've gone fully unironically Nazi, outlawing Russian speech, while being friendly to Russia, before 2014. This route was open to them, Putin wouldn't have cared.)

    On the other hand, the US is just crazy. Orbán was quite friendly to them back before 2002, but their ambassador (appointed by W.) started attacking him for the "spread of anti-Semitism" or somesuch. Then he was still friendly to the US (and anti-Russian) during his opposition years (for example denouncing the "Russian aggression" in Georgia), but the US attacked him nevertheless (though these were already the Obama years) for his "attack on democracy" or whatnot.

    Similarly, the Americans forced South Korea and Taiwan (etc.) to democratize (and they became less successful economically after that), even though in the case of South Korea it was probably an own goal for the Americans (the South Koreans occasionally elect pro-North Korean leaders, like the current South Korean president), similarly like how democratization in some of the Arab countries was an own goal, but the US just can't help itself. It's actually similar with the EU (which is an autonomous vassal of the US empire), they forced Turkey to democratize, only to be surprised by the Islamization of Turkey and the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan government.

    Basically, you cannot just satisfy the current American/European elites by satisfying their interests: no, you also need to be a homosexual-loving immigrant-loving minority-loving "democratic" country (censoring "hate speech" is recommended), and in many cases their demands are just so irrational that they contradict each other (like democratization and secularization in the case of Turkey), but they just can't help.

    Having such an empire with its mad ideology is just bad, because you cannot satisfy their demands (their demands basically amount to national suicide in the long run), so Chinese (or Russian) overlords can only be improvements. (This might change in the future: China is still Marxist, Russia might go nationalist like Anatoly is proposing, and that might change the equation. I personally think that while it's possible that in 2014 they could've conquered a relatively large chunk of Ukraine, his insistence that he could easily assimilate half of Ukrainians within a few years or at worst a generation is just irrational, i.e. not a good model for reality. It'd create a large and hostile population within Russia's borders, which would probably weaken rather than strengthen it. All the while it'd be a drain on resources for a long time to come. Annexing Belarus might be different, but its political effects would be much worse, since Russia would just attack and annex an ally.)
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  79. @Mr. Hack

    Nonetheless, a line has to be drawn in the sand sooner rather than later, and now is as good a time to do it as any.
     
    That's right! Dig your heels into the sand and continue crumbling. I hope it (the Crimea and Donbas) is worth it. Russia isn't stupid enough to invade the Baltics...or is it?

    Crumbling, like bridges and roads in the USA?
    Or merely declining, like the US labor participation, marriage, and household savings rates?

    To adapt an old expression, people who live in crumbling houses shouldn’t throw stones.

    I’m an American, Hack, and you are a liar and an embarrassment. But perfectly named.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    It's quite clear that you've never been to Russia. I'll take the few streets that are due for repair in the US anyday against the basically missing good road infrastructure in Russia. Outside of Moscow and maybe St. Petes, what do you have? Mostly holes and rocks. I live out West, and the roads are great out here. You can't really be serious and try to compare the road system in the US with the one in Russia? :-)
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  80. @neutral

    racial/cultural cousins
     
    The USA is already 50% non white, the under 18 population is already majority non white, so there is no racial kinship with that brown land. Now you might argue that Europe is also being overrun by the third world, but then such two brown blobs will not be able to rule the world nor will they share any real racial or cultural kinship with each other.

    White European-descended people in the USA — the real, core historic “America” — whatever their percentage of the US population, are indeed cultural and genetic cousins of the white people in Europe itself. We need each other and should always endeavor to help each other in any way possible.

    As for demographic, cultural, and crime trends, Europe seems likely to become Muslim-dominated fairly soon, and more heavily African than the USA as a bonus.

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  81. @reiner Tor
    OT

    Meanwhile, some "neutral" countries enter a military alliance (or "cooperation") with the US.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-14/us-sweden-and-finland-boost-military-cooperation-form-new-alliance

    Boy, those new Muslim shock troops from “Sweden” really turned the tide in that battle against big bad Russia ;)

    I hear the remaining white, um, men in the Swedish military polish the … rifles of the Muslim men.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    You have a very irrational view of the timelines involved. Swedish military will be predominantly composed of Swedes for a long time to come, probably until something like 2050. That's several decades. You know, the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent. Sweden will be a relatively (for its size) strong military power for several decades. There might be a collapse or a civil war after that, but in the here and now this is a very bad development for Russia.
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  82. Dmitry says:
    @Felix Keverich
    Could be a very old chocolate bar. They are also made in Lithuania and Hungary.

    It’s just a standard bar from Ukraine.

    My question is not about sanctions on Roshen though (apologies for confusion). But the fact they are using so much English writing (completely English front of packaging), even when it’s chocolate bars for internal Ukrainian consumption. I’ll quickly snap a picture


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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    I think they are using so much English, because це Європа. But what does this have to do with Karlin's article? We were discussing sanctions here.

    Hey, you shouldn't be eating this stuff, it has Benzopyrene and all sorts of other crap in it.
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  83. @Randal

    Syria wouldn’t even exist right now if it wasn’t for Russia. Part of the their strategy, for whatever reason, is to withstand the Israelis’ and NATO’s periodic temper tantrums. Of course, if the Syrians feel like the Russians are unreliable partners they can kick them out of the country any time they wish, and go it on their own.
     
    It isn't quite as simple as that, though. Russia has repeatedly proven to be an unreliable ally against US and especially Israeli power, from collaborating with the US sanctions charade against Iran to indulging Israeli impunity in carrying out acts of murderous aggression in Syria, and will have only itself to blame if, when push comes to shove, it finds Iran unwilling to go to the wall for Russia, and similarly for China, which is undoubtedly watching, to regard Russia as fundamentally unreliable.

    The latest Guardian propaganda piece highlights the kind of issue involved:

    Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, was in Moscow again last week, aligning his interests in Syria with those of Vladimir Putin. Israel forewarned Russia of last week’s attacks.
     
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/15/iraq-shock-election-result-may-be-turning-point-for-iran

    It is impossible for anyone outside the senior levels of the Russia government to know the truth, if any, in this assertion (and for sure the piece is the usual rank Israeli propaganda to be expected from the Guardian). But the Iranians will have a fair idea of what games Russia is playing and will be aware if Russia is betraying them in this kind of way.

    For sure, Russia is under no treaty-based duty to protect its allies interests when they are faced with outright Israeli aggression. But when it needs help, it will likely find that help will not be forthcoming and its allies will simply make the same point - that they are under no treaty duty to oblige.

    If Russia really thinks that it can appease the US or the Israelis (and Putin has often given the impression that he would like to do so), it would be making a huge error of judgement. The longer Israeli impunity in its acts of aggression against Russia's allies in the ME continue, the firmer that impression will become.

    God I hope Russia gives those S-300 or even S-400 systems to Syria already. The whole world would benefit if Syria were able to emphatically repel an Israeli missile attack and shoot down numerous Israeli planes to boot.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    God I hope Russia gives those S-300 or even S-400 systems to Syria already. The whole world would benefit if Syria were able to emphatically repel an Israeli missile attack and shoot down numerous Israeli planes to boot.
     
    Imo it's a necessary first step to achieving any kind of peace in Syria, because the Israelis have clearly demonstrated that they are not the kind of people who are prepared to settle reasonably when they are on top - they will always exploit any superiority or security to push for more gains.

    But solidifying Syrian air defences is only the first step. Shooting down missiles and drones (some will always get through)) and costing Israel money, even a few planes and pilots, counts for little when the US is forever opening its deep pockets to bail them out. In the end, tit for tat will be the only thing that will force Israel to cease its aggression.
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  84. @Mitleser

    On the other hand, what matters in the moment for the ability to enforce secondary sanctions is arguably nominal size rather than ppp-based. On this measure, the US currently accounts for just under a quarter of world gdp, and that figure (related obviously to the relative strength of the dollar) has been climbing during the past few years, from a low of around 21% in 2011.

    In nominal terms, the US and EU are still well ahead of China in share of gobal gdp: US 24.3%, EU 21.7%, China 15%, according to the 2017 IMDF figures (per Wikipedia)
     
    https://adamtooze.com/2017/03/30/notes-global-condition-americanization-global-capital/

    It is not just that many obviously American companies dominate their sectors, but firms that appear to be European, Asian, Australian actually have large and in some cases controlling American ownership. For example, if it is hard to buy into China directly, the next best thing is to buy into the Australian mining companies that supply China. So Starrs finds that “American firms own a combined 68% of the Australian-domiciled BHP Billiton for example, which in 2012 has a stunning 14% profit-share in the $172 billion Forestry, Metals and Mining sector. More broadly, American firms own 46% of the world’s top 500 corporations (despite “only” 33% of the top 500 with US-domicile), which is almost six times greater than its nearest competitor, Japan. And note the asymmetry of cross-ownership: While the American share in many non-American corporations reaches 20% or more, the total combined foreign share of top American corporations is usually no more than 15%. Americans own much more of the world than the rest of the world owns the United States, and this asymmetric interdependence leads to asymmetric power. Perhaps one of the clearest manifestations of this is that American citizens continue to own the dominant share of global wealth at 40% or more, despite the global share of US GDP steadily declining over the past half-century to less than a quarter since 2008. Lying in between is the 36% American ownership of Gazprom (versus 64% Russian) and the 28% American ownership of Samsung Electronics (versus 63% Korean).” Yup, thats right, at the time of writing, Americans owned 36 % of Gazprom!
     

    And MY massive stake in Gazprom really puts us in control ;)

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  85. @Dmitry
    It's just a standard bar from Ukraine.

    My question is not about sanctions on Roshen though (apologies for confusion). But the fact they are using so much English writing (completely English front of packaging), even when it's chocolate bars for internal Ukrainian consumption. I'll quickly snap a picture


    https://i.imgur.com/1ZDtPsm.jpg?1


    https://i.imgur.com/i5ZaZel.jpg?1

    I think they are using so much English, because це Європа. But what does this have to do with Karlin’s article? We were discussing sanctions here.

    Hey, you shouldn’t be eating this stuff, it has Benzopyrene and all sorts of other crap in it.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Sure - I was just eating Roshen chocolate at the time and remembered the grey area around people discussing sanctioning of Roshen.

    The Ukrainians changing their favourite chocolate to English was more justifying what this guy said in the conversation yesterday.
    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/russian-aircraft/#comment-2329620
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  86. songbird says:
    @for-the-record
    Seems like a pretty crazy thing to do.

    According to Wiki the story is a bit more complicated:

    The idea of this bridge was first conceived by Albert Speer in early 1943.[5] He hoped that the bridge would help spearhead the German invasion of the North Caucasus, but history ruled that it would help the Wehrmacht to retreat: from January to October 1943 the retreat of the German Caucasus Army/Army Group A, took place across the Strait of Kerch. To support the retreat the German Organisation Todt (OT) had built a ropeway across the Kerch Strait with a daily capacity of 1,000 tons. On 7 March 1943 Hitler ordered the construction of a combined road and railway bridge over the Strait of Kerch within 6 months. In April 1943, the OT had started with the construction of a combined iron road and railway war-bridge across the Strait of Kerch. On 1 September 1943, concentrated Soviet attacks began on the remnants of the bridgehead, accelerating the German retreat. At this time the new bridge was not yet completed (only one third was completed). As part of the German retreat, the Wehrmacht blasted the already completed parts of the bridge.[6]

    The 4.5-kilometre (2.8 mi) bridge was actually built in the summer of 1944 after the liberation of the Crimea by the Red Army from the materials left on the site by the Wehrmacht. It was destroyed within six months by flowing ice,[7] due to the absence of groynes.
     
    I was initially a bit confused by the lengths of the various bridges: 4.5 km for the WWII one, 19km for today. Here is a map showing the location of the new bridge:

    https://sofrep.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2.jpg

    and here is one of the strait in general, presumably the WWII German/Russian bridge was to the north near Port Kavkaz:

    https://www.kyivpost.com/wp-content/uploads/data/uploads/c/iblock/articles/75580/5118/original-570x520.jpg

    Thanks, for the overview. That’s an interesting timeline. A bit surprising to me that the plan was ever formulated.

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  87. Mr. Hack says:
    @RadicalCenter
    Crumbling, like bridges and roads in the USA?
    Or merely declining, like the US labor participation, marriage, and household savings rates?

    To adapt an old expression, people who live in crumbling houses shouldn't throw stones.

    I'm an American, Hack, and you are a liar and an embarrassment. But perfectly named.

    It’s quite clear that you’ve never been to Russia. I’ll take the few streets that are due for repair in the US anyday against the basically missing good road infrastructure in Russia. Outside of Moscow and maybe St. Petes, what do you have? Mostly holes and rocks. I live out West, and the roads are great out here. You can’t really be serious and try to compare the road system in the US with the one in Russia? :-)

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    I didn't, genius.

    What I said was that OUR infrastructure is decaying and that we're in position to lecture on that.

    Never implied I've been to Russia, either. Ukraine and Poland, but not Russia yet. Looking forward to vacationing there with the family in the future. We could meet up for some horilka / vodka and a friendly chat if you're going to be there yourself ;)
    , @Gerard2

    You can’t really be serious and try to compare the road system in the US with the one in Russia? :-)
     
    It's a false comparison...just like it would be to compare Russia's vastly superior public transport system and Education and cultural levels to America's,

    Outside of Moscow and maybe St. Petes
     
    You that dumb to think those are the only two great cities with decent roads in Russia?

    The facts are the road system in Russia is flawed but rapidly improving....and with weather, rapid increase of car ownership on last decade and a half at a rate that no city could realistically plan ahead of, low tax levels, higher intensity of city population compared to most white countries. the size of the country and maintenance being a far harder problem than for most other countries ...it shouldn't expect to be 100% just now.....and anyway, dimwit, what excuse do Ukraine have , and Moldova, for a road systems that are extremely bad ,poorly maintained and lacking? Russia's is easily far superior

    Cities like New York,London and even Helsinki have had their road transport networks come to a standstill when faced with weather conditions not even close to some extreme conditions cities like Moscow and Kazan have experienced
    , @anonymous coward

    It’s quite clear that you’ve never been to Russia.
     
    Neither have you. You know how I know?

    " Outside of Moscow and maybe St. Petes" -- this is a phrase that's only used by people who never set foot in Russia.
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  88. Randal says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    The only world in which confrontation with Israel over Syria will be worth it for Russia is if it is seriously planning to use that as a pretext to destroy Ukraine.

    I really doubt that's the case.

    If push comes to shove, it will be Israel that, well, shoves Russia out of Syria. With all the attendant humiliations, plus sealing Syria's fate anyway.

    Here is how I see things, anyway. By fomenting color revolutions in the Near Abroad, the US has unacceptably waded into Russia's rightful sphere of influence. They are lucky to get away with it because the Kremlin is full of cucks and compradors. By extension, Russia in Syria is playing a dangerous and delicate game where it is wading into what several different countries see as their sphere of influence (Israel, the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran). There is only so much some of these players are willing to accept until they give Russia the boot (which the first three, at any rate, are perfectly capable of).

    Unless there's a long-range master plan behind it, pushing things too hard in Syria risks catastrophe. As reiner Tor always notes, Israeli strikes on Syria have been a fact of life well before Russia got involved, so Russia trying to put an end to that - as opposed to drawing a red line on novel US adventures - would be presumptuous in the extreme. Not sure that Israel would tolerate it.

    I think you overstate Israeli capabilities wrt Russia. We’ve already seen the US blink when face with the prospect of taking on Russia in Syria, and they do have the capability to destroy the Russian presence there at little risk to their homeland – the risks and costs are just too high for something that is basically optional.

    Israel’s claims of an existential requirement to attack Syria and its allies at will are hogwash. It’s just something they do because they can. If Russia tells them to stop one day, they will appraise the situation coldly as to whether Russia is making a bluff they can call with massive strikes on Syria, or a serious statement of intent. As long as they think it is the latter, they will back down.

    Israel cannot openly invade Syria in the face of Russian opposition, and nor can it hope to wipe out the Russian presence in Syria without facing unacceptable costs in terms of retaliatory attacks. Nor can Turkey for that matter – we’ve already seen them brought to heel for one minor incident. And nor can Israel long sustain a situation in which the Syrians are firing back at Israel itself in tit for tat responses to Israeli attacks – they will be forced to stop the attacks.

    The current level of Israeli attacks on Syria is well beyond anything that can be tolerated if the country is to be stabilised. Russia certainly can stop them. The question is whether it is motivated to do so once the appropriate conditions have been achieved (there are plenty of arguments for not having done so previously). If it isn’t, then imo it is either foolish weakness or active collaboration with Israel. Russia can obviously collaborate with Israel if it chooses, but it will pay a huge price in the end for either, because as I noted, Israeli goals in Syria are diametrically opposed to Russia’s and no amount of pretence or pandering can change that.

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    • Replies: @utu
    I followed your exchange of arguments with AK and I was pleased to see that you argued more skillfully along the same line as I did with Reiner Tor few days ago. He basically did not want to have anything to do with Israel and wanted to allow Israel to keep bombing, For many reasons much sounder and safer approach is to make an ultimatum to Israel that they must stop or else where the else must be something forceful and credible including a threat of nuclear strike. By doing nothing the risk of nuclear war is higher and chances of getting first in conflict with the US first is more likely while in the meantime having Russia power and reputation being eroded with every new Israeli attack. In last comment to Reiner Tor I made a table of risks for all possibilities.

    Karlin's arguments just like Reiner Tor's were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice. AK can't do Real Politik arguing that Syria does not really love Russia and is just an opportunist Russophile. And Assad spent too much time in Paris instead of showing his obsequiousness in Moscow. Then Iran is not loving Russia strong enough either because it did not recognize Crimea. Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can't do politics if you want to be loved.

    What Russia will do nobody knows. Will Bibi help to make a deal with Trump for Russia? Or will Bibi get even more difficult during the World Cup? Perhaps AK should come up with some poll about possible outcomes for the next two months. With prizes. The grand prize for the one who predicts WWIII and the total annihilation.
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  89. Randal says:
    @RadicalCenter
    God I hope Russia gives those S-300 or even S-400 systems to Syria already. The whole world would benefit if Syria were able to emphatically repel an Israeli missile attack and shoot down numerous Israeli planes to boot.

    God I hope Russia gives those S-300 or even S-400 systems to Syria already. The whole world would benefit if Syria were able to emphatically repel an Israeli missile attack and shoot down numerous Israeli planes to boot.

    Imo it’s a necessary first step to achieving any kind of peace in Syria, because the Israelis have clearly demonstrated that they are not the kind of people who are prepared to settle reasonably when they are on top – they will always exploit any superiority or security to push for more gains.

    But solidifying Syrian air defences is only the first step. Shooting down missiles and drones (some will always get through)) and costing Israel money, even a few planes and pilots, counts for little when the US is forever opening its deep pockets to bail them out. In the end, tit for tat will be the only thing that will force Israel to cease its aggression.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Agreed. Israel apparently will not stop the lying, manipulation, and cruelty until their cities are hit with a sustained missile attack and hundreds of thousands of their people die, at least. Sad, but that seems to be their mindset.

    S-300, S-400, Russia, please give Syria what you've got.

    If Israel ever hits Russian personnel, that would be the time for Russia to eliminate Israel as a civilization once and for all. No sense letting them get back up for more machinations and revenge against Russia in the future. Whatever the US would do to Russia after that, the world would finally be rid of Israel and its vicious people.

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  90. Randal says:
    @RadicalCenter
    If the world is tired of arbitrary US government exercise of power, I don't blame them. But just wait and see how they like arbitrary CHINESE government power. Oh boy.

    Sufficient unto the day…..

    Read More
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  91. Randal says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    US equity is currently priced at a premium to other countries: https://www.starcapital.de/en/research/stock-market-valuation/

    This sort of thing is cyclical. Take a look at this article from 1989: http://articles.latimes.com/1989-07-10/business/fi-2595_1_richest-people

    In fact in 1990 the Tokyo Stock Exchange accounted for 60% of global stock market market capitalization.

    In addition to the valuation premium in America at the moment, there's the global concentration of "tech" in America, which is historically unusual.

    China doesn't have a fully convertible currency and one third of corporate equity is state owned.

    Focusing on the Forbes 2000 also means it ignores a lot of wealth such as the Mittelstand firms of Germany.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a1/Mittelstand_pyramide.PNG

    This sort of thing is cyclical

    It’s also mostly very dependent on the value of the dollar, and can change very quickly – much more quickly I’d think than the economic fundamentals (at least as far as wealth levels are concerned, not necessarily corporate ownership).

    But it still seems a legitimate point that casts some more light on the situation, even taking into account your responses.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Sure. Just prior to the turn of the 20th century the UK accounted for about half of global stock market wealth, even though it had already been surpassed by Germany and the USA economically.

    Takes time for asset values to catch up. The USA has the world's largest quantity of high-quality financial assets, and said assets are extremely liquid. That's obviously attractive to investors.

    I have a majority of my liquid assets in American equities even though I'm not enthused of the prices on offer. Partly this is home market bias of course, along with the fact that holding foreign assets incurs currency risk.
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  92. @Mr. Hack
    It's quite clear that you've never been to Russia. I'll take the few streets that are due for repair in the US anyday against the basically missing good road infrastructure in Russia. Outside of Moscow and maybe St. Petes, what do you have? Mostly holes and rocks. I live out West, and the roads are great out here. You can't really be serious and try to compare the road system in the US with the one in Russia? :-)

    I didn’t, genius.

    What I said was that OUR infrastructure is decaying and that we’re in position to lecture on that.

    Never implied I’ve been to Russia, either. Ukraine and Poland, but not Russia yet. Looking forward to vacationing there with the family in the future. We could meet up for some horilka / vodka and a friendly chat if you’re going to be there yourself ;)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    You'd actually stoop to having a few 100grm shots of Neimiroff with a 'liar and an embarassment'?

    First Karlin invites me to meet with him if I'm ever in Moscow, and now this? What next, a repentant Thorfinnsson asking me if I could direct him to the best quality and priced Ukrainian tryzubs? I'm really deeply moved. There's something to be said about being the loyal opposition. :-)

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  93. @Randal

    God I hope Russia gives those S-300 or even S-400 systems to Syria already. The whole world would benefit if Syria were able to emphatically repel an Israeli missile attack and shoot down numerous Israeli planes to boot.
     
    Imo it's a necessary first step to achieving any kind of peace in Syria, because the Israelis have clearly demonstrated that they are not the kind of people who are prepared to settle reasonably when they are on top - they will always exploit any superiority or security to push for more gains.

    But solidifying Syrian air defences is only the first step. Shooting down missiles and drones (some will always get through)) and costing Israel money, even a few planes and pilots, counts for little when the US is forever opening its deep pockets to bail them out. In the end, tit for tat will be the only thing that will force Israel to cease its aggression.

    Agreed. Israel apparently will not stop the lying, manipulation, and cruelty until their cities are hit with a sustained missile attack and hundreds of thousands of their people die, at least. Sad, but that seems to be their mindset.

    S-300, S-400, Russia, please give Syria what you’ve got.

    If Israel ever hits Russian personnel, that would be the time for Russia to eliminate Israel as a civilization once and for all. No sense letting them get back up for more machinations and revenge against Russia in the future. Whatever the US would do to Russia after that, the world would finally be rid of Israel and its vicious people.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    Agreed. Israel apparently will not stop the lying, manipulation, and cruelty until their cities are hit with a sustained missile attack and hundreds of thousands of their people die, at least. Sad, but that seems to be their mindset.

    S-300, S-400, Russia, please give Syria what you’ve got.

    If Israel ever hits Russian personnel, that would be the time for Russia to eliminate Israel as a civilization once and for all. No sense letting them get back up for more machinations and revenge against Russia in the future. Whatever the US would do to Russia after that, the world would finally be rid of Israel and its vicious people.
     
    Sure, great idea to spend billions of dollars giving free complexes to an Arab country in a conflict in the Middle East. And then get involved in firing nuclear bombs on another - more visitable - Middle East country, and apparently receiving nuclear strikes in return as well? And you will personally be volunteering to aid in this yourself - when?
    , @reiner Tor

    If Israel ever hits Russian personnel, that would be the time for Russia to eliminate Israel as a civilization once and for all. No sense letting them get back up for more machinations and revenge against Russia in the future. Whatever the US would do to Russia after that, the world would finally be rid of Israel and its vicious people.
     
    Obviously you are not Russian, nor do you care about Russians at all. You are similar to utu in hoping for a nuclear war between Russia and Israel, and are disappointed at Russia failing to sacrifice itself (or at the very worst a substantial portion of its population - Israel can probably nuke a few Russian cities in retaliation) for the greater good of destroying Israel.
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  94. Mr. Hack says:
    @RadicalCenter
    I didn't, genius.

    What I said was that OUR infrastructure is decaying and that we're in position to lecture on that.

    Never implied I've been to Russia, either. Ukraine and Poland, but not Russia yet. Looking forward to vacationing there with the family in the future. We could meet up for some horilka / vodka and a friendly chat if you're going to be there yourself ;)

    You’d actually stoop to having a few 100grm shots of Neimiroff with a ‘liar and an embarassment’?

    First Karlin invites me to meet with him if I’m ever in Moscow, and now this? What next, a repentant Thorfinnsson asking me if I could direct him to the best quality and priced Ukrainian tryzubs? I’m really deeply moved. There’s something to be said about being the loyal opposition. :-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    You’d actually stoop to having a few 100grm shots of Neimiroff with a ‘liar and an embarassment’?

    Beware of strangers offering free drinks!

    https://cdni.rt.com/files/2018.05/article/5af5afd7dda4c820318b4631.jpg
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  95. Dmitry says:
    @RadicalCenter
    Agreed. Israel apparently will not stop the lying, manipulation, and cruelty until their cities are hit with a sustained missile attack and hundreds of thousands of their people die, at least. Sad, but that seems to be their mindset.

    S-300, S-400, Russia, please give Syria what you've got.

    If Israel ever hits Russian personnel, that would be the time for Russia to eliminate Israel as a civilization once and for all. No sense letting them get back up for more machinations and revenge against Russia in the future. Whatever the US would do to Russia after that, the world would finally be rid of Israel and its vicious people.

    Agreed. Israel apparently will not stop the lying, manipulation, and cruelty until their cities are hit with a sustained missile attack and hundreds of thousands of their people die, at least. Sad, but that seems to be their mindset.

    S-300, S-400, Russia, please give Syria what you’ve got.

    If Israel ever hits Russian personnel, that would be the time for Russia to eliminate Israel as a civilization once and for all. No sense letting them get back up for more machinations and revenge against Russia in the future. Whatever the US would do to Russia after that, the world would finally be rid of Israel and its vicious people.

    Sure, great idea to spend billions of dollars giving free complexes to an Arab country in a conflict in the Middle East. And then get involved in firing nuclear bombs on another – more visitable – Middle East country, and apparently receiving nuclear strikes in return as well? And you will personally be volunteering to aid in this yourself – when?

    Read More
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  96. Dmitry says:
    @Felix Keverich
    I think they are using so much English, because це Європа. But what does this have to do with Karlin's article? We were discussing sanctions here.

    Hey, you shouldn't be eating this stuff, it has Benzopyrene and all sorts of other crap in it.

    Sure – I was just eating Roshen chocolate at the time and remembered the grey area around people discussing sanctioning of Roshen.

    The Ukrainians changing their favourite chocolate to English was more justifying what this guy said in the conversation yesterday.

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/russian-aircraft/#comment-2329620

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Ok it seems they switched over to this English almost two years ago in Ukraine. And no-one even noticed, well me today - with the semi-ban on bringing it in from Ukraine.
    , @Gerard2
    This is probably just a Roshen chocolate product for Israel, sent by Georgia, which distributes Roshen products and is rapidly turned itself into an Israeli satellite state at the time its relationship with Russia has decreased.....that has found it's way back to Kiev

    Similar things happen in the EU with Polish labelled products that are actually from the UK or western Europe , such as Fairy Liquid...that can often find it's way onto EU or British medium-sized shops shelves, often displayed at cheaper prices
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  97. @Randal

    This sort of thing is cyclical
     
    It's also mostly very dependent on the value of the dollar, and can change very quickly - much more quickly I'd think than the economic fundamentals (at least as far as wealth levels are concerned, not necessarily corporate ownership).

    But it still seems a legitimate point that casts some more light on the situation, even taking into account your responses.

    Sure. Just prior to the turn of the 20th century the UK accounted for about half of global stock market wealth, even though it had already been surpassed by Germany and the USA economically.

    Takes time for asset values to catch up. The USA has the world’s largest quantity of high-quality financial assets, and said assets are extremely liquid. That’s obviously attractive to investors.

    I have a majority of my liquid assets in American equities even though I’m not enthused of the prices on offer. Partly this is home market bias of course, along with the fact that holding foreign assets incurs currency risk.

    Read More
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  98. Gerard2 says:
    @Mr. Hack
    Your prognostications for Ukraine's economy seem a little too glib to be accurate. Sure for a year and a half after Russia's invasion and annexation of Crimea, things slowed down, but over the last year and a half, Ukraine's economy has been recovering quite nicely (it would be even better for Ukraine, as it would be for Russia, if Ukraine had not been provoked into a senseless war with Russia):

    Late in July 2016, the State Statistics Service of Ukraine reported that, compared with June 2015, real wages had increased by 17.3%.[69] Simultaneously the National Bank of Ukraine reported a $406 million surplus in Ukraine's January–June 2016 balance of payments against a deficit of $1.3 billion in the same period in 2015.[70] According to (Ukraine's) State Statistics Service inflation in 2016 came down to 13.9%; while it was 43.3% in 2015 and 24.9% in 2014.[71]...In 2013, 35.9% of Ukrainian exports went to CIS countries, including eight countries other than Ukraine. Simultaneously, exports to EU countries, of which there are twenty-eight, was 26.6%.[77][78][79] By 2015 the EU became Ukraine's largest trading partner, accounting for more than a third of its trade.[80] In 2015 the Ukrainian export to Russia figure had fallen to 12.7%.[59] In 2014 Ukraine imported 23.3% of all its imports from Russia.[6] In 2017 the Ukrainian export to Russia figure was 9%.[81] In 2017 40% of Ukraine's export went to the EU and 15% to CIS countries.[81] Overall Ukraine increased its exports by 20% in 2017.[81]
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Ukraine

    Not particularly, exports are still 50% less then what they were pre-illegal Nazi coup. So the EU have (belatedly) taken up the slack from Russia refusing to take exports from Ukraine in many sectors….so what? It’s still way below satisfactory levels and for ,most product areas are still hostage to where Russia exports to the EU are increasing, decreasing or staying the same…because much of Ukrainian industry is still highly compatible with Russia’s

    So it’s export market is garbage and has no long-term viability

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    The graph produced by the World Bank Group clearly shows that Ukrainian exports reached their lowest point in 2009, preceded by a precipitous drop from 2008. 2014 also had a pronounced low (not as low as in 2009), and has steadily been climbing to the end of 2016. The graph doesn't include 2017 or the first part of 2018, but nothing that I've read indicates anything but steady growth from then on? The graph indicates that exports are about the same as in 2011 (at the end of 2016).

    ttps://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NE.EXP.GNFS.KD.ZG?locations=UA
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  99. Dmitry says:
    @Dmitry
    Sure - I was just eating Roshen chocolate at the time and remembered the grey area around people discussing sanctioning of Roshen.

    The Ukrainians changing their favourite chocolate to English was more justifying what this guy said in the conversation yesterday.
    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/russian-aircraft/#comment-2329620

    Ok it seems they switched over to this English almost two years ago in Ukraine. And no-one even noticed, well me today – with the semi-ban on bringing it in from Ukraine.

    Read More
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  100. Pavlo says:

    It took them four years to come up with an idea this obvious?

    Has it really taken them this long to realise that the current bout of western tard-raging isn’t going to blow over like the last one?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Hope is the last thing to die. Remember, Russian "elite" keeps their stolen money in the West; their children and wifes live in the West.

    Putin's spokesman/personal assistant Peskov has two ex-wifes, and they both live in the West. Peskov's daughter leads a glamorous life in France. Yakunin's 2 sons live in West. Lavrov's daughter lived in America until for PR reasons he brought her to Russia. One of Putin's daughters used to live in Netherlands with her foreign BF until revently.

    Western travel bans are really painful for the Putin's elite, because now they need to rethink their entire way of life. And they hate it. They seem to really hate the idea of living in the country they have built over the past 18 years. They are hoping against hope that the whole thing will blow over, and then they can go back to the way things were.
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  101. Gerard2 says:
    @Dmitry
    Sure - I was just eating Roshen chocolate at the time and remembered the grey area around people discussing sanctioning of Roshen.

    The Ukrainians changing their favourite chocolate to English was more justifying what this guy said in the conversation yesterday.
    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/russian-aircraft/#comment-2329620

    This is probably just a Roshen chocolate product for Israel, sent by Georgia, which distributes Roshen products and is rapidly turned itself into an Israeli satellite state at the time its relationship with Russia has decreased…..that has found it’s way back to Kiev

    Similar things happen in the EU with Polish labelled products that are actually from the UK or western Europe , such as Fairy Liquid…that can often find it’s way onto EU or British medium-sized shops shelves, often displayed at cheaper prices

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    It is all Ukrainian bought Roshen bars. The English packaging is used for the internal Ukrainian market, which is why I thought it was a bit funny or perhaps sad to tell here, depending on your view. I also have got the Tender Dessert Tiramisu box, some opera bars, the wafers and some of other bars, as well as some Ukrainian stuff. Roshen stuff is all on written English on the front, except the opera bars

    It seems they did this since a couple of years ago but nobody of us noticed as it wasn't being brought in and we don't visit Ukraine since then. I guess they see it as more 'Western' to write English on the front.

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  102. Mr. Hack says:
    @Gerard2
    Not particularly, exports are still 50% less then what they were pre-illegal Nazi coup. So the EU have (belatedly) taken up the slack from Russia refusing to take exports from Ukraine in many sectors....so what? It's still way below satisfactory levels and for ,most product areas are still hostage to where Russia exports to the EU are increasing, decreasing or staying the same...because much of Ukrainian industry is still highly compatible with Russia's

    So it's export market is garbage and has no long-term viability

    The graph produced by the World Bank Group clearly shows that Ukrainian exports reached their lowest point in 2009, preceded by a precipitous drop from 2008. 2014 also had a pronounced low (not as low as in 2009), and has steadily been climbing to the end of 2016. The graph doesn’t include 2017 or the first part of 2018, but nothing that I’ve read indicates anything but steady growth from then on? The graph indicates that exports are about the same as in 2011 (at the end of 2016).

    ttps://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NE.EXP.GNFS.KD.ZG?locations=UA

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Ukraine increased exports in 2017 to $52,3 billion - 16% increase in exports for the year.
    , @Gerard2
    exports now are averaging about just under four billion a month, before the coup it was the 6 billion-5.5 billion a month in export, most of the crisis after 2014.... about 3 billion per month
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  103. Dmitry says:
    @Gerard2
    This is probably just a Roshen chocolate product for Israel, sent by Georgia, which distributes Roshen products and is rapidly turned itself into an Israeli satellite state at the time its relationship with Russia has decreased.....that has found it's way back to Kiev

    Similar things happen in the EU with Polish labelled products that are actually from the UK or western Europe , such as Fairy Liquid...that can often find it's way onto EU or British medium-sized shops shelves, often displayed at cheaper prices

    It is all Ukrainian bought Roshen bars. The English packaging is used for the internal Ukrainian market, which is why I thought it was a bit funny or perhaps sad to tell here, depending on your view. I also have got the Tender Dessert Tiramisu box, some opera bars, the wafers and some of other bars, as well as some Ukrainian stuff. Roshen stuff is all on written English on the front, except the opera bars

    It seems they did this since a couple of years ago but nobody of us noticed as it wasn’t being brought in and we don’t visit Ukraine since then. I guess they see it as more ‘Western’ to write English on the front.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Gerard2
    Thanks for that! Russian Standard Vodka keeps propping up on EU shelves in Cyrillic-titled bottles!
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  104. Gerard2 says:
    @Mr. Hack
    It's quite clear that you've never been to Russia. I'll take the few streets that are due for repair in the US anyday against the basically missing good road infrastructure in Russia. Outside of Moscow and maybe St. Petes, what do you have? Mostly holes and rocks. I live out West, and the roads are great out here. You can't really be serious and try to compare the road system in the US with the one in Russia? :-)

    You can’t really be serious and try to compare the road system in the US with the one in Russia? :-)

    It’s a false comparison…just like it would be to compare Russia’s vastly superior public transport system and Education and cultural levels to America’s,

    Outside of Moscow and maybe St. Petes

    You that dumb to think those are the only two great cities with decent roads in Russia?

    The facts are the road system in Russia is flawed but rapidly improving….and with weather, rapid increase of car ownership on last decade and a half at a rate that no city could realistically plan ahead of, low tax levels, higher intensity of city population compared to most white countries. the size of the country and maintenance being a far harder problem than for most other countries …it shouldn’t expect to be 100% just now…..and anyway, dimwit, what excuse do Ukraine have , and Moldova, for a road systems that are extremely bad ,poorly maintained and lacking? Russia’s is easily far superior

    Cities like New York,London and even Helsinki have had their road transport networks come to a standstill when faced with weather conditions not even close to some extreme conditions cities like Moscow and Kazan have experienced

    Read More
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  105. Dmitry says:
    @Mr. Hack
    The graph produced by the World Bank Group clearly shows that Ukrainian exports reached their lowest point in 2009, preceded by a precipitous drop from 2008. 2014 also had a pronounced low (not as low as in 2009), and has steadily been climbing to the end of 2016. The graph doesn't include 2017 or the first part of 2018, but nothing that I've read indicates anything but steady growth from then on? The graph indicates that exports are about the same as in 2011 (at the end of 2016).

    ttps://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NE.EXP.GNFS.KD.ZG?locations=UA

    Ukraine increased exports in 2017 to $52,3 billion – 16% increase in exports for the year.

    Read More
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  106. Gerard2 says:
    @Dmitry
    It is all Ukrainian bought Roshen bars. The English packaging is used for the internal Ukrainian market, which is why I thought it was a bit funny or perhaps sad to tell here, depending on your view. I also have got the Tender Dessert Tiramisu box, some opera bars, the wafers and some of other bars, as well as some Ukrainian stuff. Roshen stuff is all on written English on the front, except the opera bars

    It seems they did this since a couple of years ago but nobody of us noticed as it wasn't being brought in and we don't visit Ukraine since then. I guess they see it as more 'Western' to write English on the front.

    Thanks for that! Russian Standard Vodka keeps propping up on EU shelves in Cyrillic-titled bottles!

    Read More
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  107. Gerard2 says:
    @Mr. Hack
    The graph produced by the World Bank Group clearly shows that Ukrainian exports reached their lowest point in 2009, preceded by a precipitous drop from 2008. 2014 also had a pronounced low (not as low as in 2009), and has steadily been climbing to the end of 2016. The graph doesn't include 2017 or the first part of 2018, but nothing that I've read indicates anything but steady growth from then on? The graph indicates that exports are about the same as in 2011 (at the end of 2016).

    ttps://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NE.EXP.GNFS.KD.ZG?locations=UA

    exports now are averaging about just under four billion a month, before the coup it was the 6 billion-5.5 billion a month in export, most of the crisis after 2014…. about 3 billion per month

    Read More
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  108. @Mr. Hack
    You'd actually stoop to having a few 100grm shots of Neimiroff with a 'liar and an embarassment'?

    First Karlin invites me to meet with him if I'm ever in Moscow, and now this? What next, a repentant Thorfinnsson asking me if I could direct him to the best quality and priced Ukrainian tryzubs? I'm really deeply moved. There's something to be said about being the loyal opposition. :-)

    You’d actually stoop to having a few 100grm shots of Neimiroff with a ‘liar and an embarassment’?

    Beware of strangers offering free drinks!

    Read More
    • LOL: JL
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Dark colored sunflower oil? Nah, must be some kind of homemade horilka made from spoiled beets with some leftover wood alcohol? :-(

    Vechnaya pamiat!

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  109. @Pavlo
    It took them four years to come up with an idea this obvious?

    Has it really taken them this long to realise that the current bout of western tard-raging isn't going to blow over like the last one?

    Hope is the last thing to die. Remember, Russian “elite” keeps their stolen money in the West; their children and wifes live in the West.

    Putin’s spokesman/personal assistant Peskov has two ex-wifes, and they both live in the West. Peskov’s daughter leads a glamorous life in France. Yakunin’s 2 sons live in West. Lavrov’s daughter lived in America until for PR reasons he brought her to Russia. One of Putin’s daughters used to live in Netherlands with her foreign BF until revently.

    Western travel bans are really painful for the Putin’s elite, because now they need to rethink their entire way of life. And they hate it. They seem to really hate the idea of living in the country they have built over the past 18 years. They are hoping against hope that the whole thing will blow over, and then they can go back to the way things were.

    Read More
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  110. @RadicalCenter
    If the world is tired of arbitrary US government exercise of power, I don't blame them. But just wait and see how they like arbitrary CHINESE government power. Oh boy.

    As I wrote elsewhere, China in its current form is an asshole, but a rational asshole. It doesn’t care how you govern your country, as long as business is good for them. You can talk to them on a rational basis, and can come to an understanding. Obviously they will take from you if they feel they need it a lot and feel sufficiently strong to get it (see South China Sea), but you can talk to them.

    (Russia is similar. Russia doesn’t give a shit about Russian minorities in your country, as long as you are supportive enough of Russian oligarchic interests and foreign policy goals. That might have been a way forward for the Baltic states back when it was still feasible in the 1990s. Probably it would’ve been easier to kick out Russians from their countries while being friendly to Russia itself, than being hostile to Russia and joining the West – the West allows them not to grant citizenship to all Russians there, but it doesn’t allow them harder discrimination against them, so reducing their numbers is not so easy. Similarly, Ukraine could’ve gone fully unironically Nazi, outlawing Russian speech, while being friendly to Russia, before 2014. This route was open to them, Putin wouldn’t have cared.)

    On the other hand, the US is just crazy. Orbán was quite friendly to them back before 2002, but their ambassador (appointed by W.) started attacking him for the “spread of anti-Semitism” or somesuch. Then he was still friendly to the US (and anti-Russian) during his opposition years (for example denouncing the “Russian aggression” in Georgia), but the US attacked him nevertheless (though these were already the Obama years) for his “attack on democracy” or whatnot.

    Similarly, the Americans forced South Korea and Taiwan (etc.) to democratize (and they became less successful economically after that), even though in the case of South Korea it was probably an own goal for the Americans (the South Koreans occasionally elect pro-North Korean leaders, like the current South Korean president), similarly like how democratization in some of the Arab countries was an own goal, but the US just can’t help itself. It’s actually similar with the EU (which is an autonomous vassal of the US empire), they forced Turkey to democratize, only to be surprised by the Islamization of Turkey and the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan government.

    Basically, you cannot just satisfy the current American/European elites by satisfying their interests: no, you also need to be a homosexual-loving immigrant-loving minority-loving “democratic” country (censoring “hate speech” is recommended), and in many cases their demands are just so irrational that they contradict each other (like democratization and secularization in the case of Turkey), but they just can’t help.

    Having such an empire with its mad ideology is just bad, because you cannot satisfy their demands (their demands basically amount to national suicide in the long run), so Chinese (or Russian) overlords can only be improvements. (This might change in the future: China is still Marxist, Russia might go nationalist like Anatoly is proposing, and that might change the equation. I personally think that while it’s possible that in 2014 they could’ve conquered a relatively large chunk of Ukraine, his insistence that he could easily assimilate half of Ukrainians within a few years or at worst a generation is just irrational, i.e. not a good model for reality. It’d create a large and hostile population within Russia’s borders, which would probably weaken rather than strengthen it. All the while it’d be a drain on resources for a long time to come. Annexing Belarus might be different, but its political effects would be much worse, since Russia would just attack and annex an ally.)

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Similarly, Ukraine could’ve gone fully unironically Nazi, outlawing Russian speech, while being friendly to Russia, before 2014. This route was open to them, Putin wouldn’t have cared.
     
    What? This seems to make sense inside your head, but it would have never worked like this in real life. You see, Ukrainian nationalists hate Moscow as a power center far more than they hate individual Russians. The more nationalistic the Ukraine is, the stronger is the anti-Moscow sentiment. It couldn't have worked any other way.

    Futhermore, I question your assumption that mass repressions against the Russians in the Ukraine would have elicited zero response from Russia, provided the regime in Kiev had no pro-Western aspirations. To be sure, the Russian public would care. And the Kremlin, always mindful of public opinion, would have to adjust its stance accordingly.

    Just to give you an example, the Kremlin cared when Kazakhstan tried to ban Russian television channels, and Kazakh regime is as friendly as they come. The idea that Kremlin would just ignore the assault on Russian language in the Ukraine seems absurd to me.

    https://thediplomat.com/2017/12/in-kazakhstans-battle-for-cable-tv-russia-stands-its-ground/
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  111. @RadicalCenter
    Boy, those new Muslim shock troops from "Sweden" really turned the tide in that battle against big bad Russia ;)

    I hear the remaining white, um, men in the Swedish military polish the ... rifles of the Muslim men.

    You have a very irrational view of the timelines involved. Swedish military will be predominantly composed of Swedes for a long time to come, probably until something like 2050. That’s several decades. You know, the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent. Sweden will be a relatively (for its size) strong military power for several decades. There might be a collapse or a civil war after that, but in the here and now this is a very bad development for Russia.

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  112. @RadicalCenter
    Agreed. Israel apparently will not stop the lying, manipulation, and cruelty until their cities are hit with a sustained missile attack and hundreds of thousands of their people die, at least. Sad, but that seems to be their mindset.

    S-300, S-400, Russia, please give Syria what you've got.

    If Israel ever hits Russian personnel, that would be the time for Russia to eliminate Israel as a civilization once and for all. No sense letting them get back up for more machinations and revenge against Russia in the future. Whatever the US would do to Russia after that, the world would finally be rid of Israel and its vicious people.

    If Israel ever hits Russian personnel, that would be the time for Russia to eliminate Israel as a civilization once and for all. No sense letting them get back up for more machinations and revenge against Russia in the future. Whatever the US would do to Russia after that, the world would finally be rid of Israel and its vicious people.

    Obviously you are not Russian, nor do you care about Russians at all. You are similar to utu in hoping for a nuclear war between Russia and Israel, and are disappointed at Russia failing to sacrifice itself (or at the very worst a substantial portion of its population – Israel can probably nuke a few Russian cities in retaliation) for the greater good of destroying Israel.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    He probably justifiably doesn't like that America is too close to Israel, or Israel is too unhealthily worshiped in American politics.

    His idea that Russia will have a nuclear war with Israel, where all countries destroy each other, is also apparently popular in some biblical prophecy websites, as they believe it matches to the Gog and Magog prophecy.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gog_and_Magog#Modern_apocalypticism

    But the nation-state conflict is between Israel and Iran. Between Russia and Israel, the main conflict is a secondary one through Israel's relation to America, or Russia's relation to Syria.

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  113. utu says:
    @Randal
    I think you overstate Israeli capabilities wrt Russia. We've already seen the US blink when face with the prospect of taking on Russia in Syria, and they do have the capability to destroy the Russian presence there at little risk to their homeland - the risks and costs are just too high for something that is basically optional.

    Israel's claims of an existential requirement to attack Syria and its allies at will are hogwash. It's just something they do because they can. If Russia tells them to stop one day, they will appraise the situation coldly as to whether Russia is making a bluff they can call with massive strikes on Syria, or a serious statement of intent. As long as they think it is the latter, they will back down.

    Israel cannot openly invade Syria in the face of Russian opposition, and nor can it hope to wipe out the Russian presence in Syria without facing unacceptable costs in terms of retaliatory attacks. Nor can Turkey for that matter - we've already seen them brought to heel for one minor incident. And nor can Israel long sustain a situation in which the Syrians are firing back at Israel itself in tit for tat responses to Israeli attacks - they will be forced to stop the attacks.

    The current level of Israeli attacks on Syria is well beyond anything that can be tolerated if the country is to be stabilised. Russia certainly can stop them. The question is whether it is motivated to do so once the appropriate conditions have been achieved (there are plenty of arguments for not having done so previously). If it isn't, then imo it is either foolish weakness or active collaboration with Israel. Russia can obviously collaborate with Israel if it chooses, but it will pay a huge price in the end for either, because as I noted, Israeli goals in Syria are diametrically opposed to Russia's and no amount of pretence or pandering can change that.

    I followed your exchange of arguments with AK and I was pleased to see that you argued more skillfully along the same line as I did with Reiner Tor few days ago. He basically did not want to have anything to do with Israel and wanted to allow Israel to keep bombing, For many reasons much sounder and safer approach is to make an ultimatum to Israel that they must stop or else where the else must be something forceful and credible including a threat of nuclear strike. By doing nothing the risk of nuclear war is higher and chances of getting first in conflict with the US first is more likely while in the meantime having Russia power and reputation being eroded with every new Israeli attack. In last comment to Reiner Tor I made a table of risks for all possibilities.

    Karlin’s arguments just like Reiner Tor’s were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice. AK can’t do Real Politik arguing that Syria does not really love Russia and is just an opportunist Russophile. And Assad spent too much time in Paris instead of showing his obsequiousness in Moscow. Then Iran is not loving Russia strong enough either because it did not recognize Crimea. Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can’t do politics if you want to be loved.

    What Russia will do nobody knows. Will Bibi help to make a deal with Trump for Russia? Or will Bibi get even more difficult during the World Cup? Perhaps AK should come up with some poll about possible outcomes for the next two months. With prizes. The grand prize for the one who predicts WWIII and the total annihilation.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Karlin’s arguments just like Reiner Tor’s were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice.
     
    I agree. The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel seem to horrify AK for some reason. When I said that Russia should consider economic sanctions on Israel (by ending pension payments for example), he opposed even that.


    Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can’t do politics if you want to be loved.
     
    I don't believe that is the case. Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it's just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.
    , @reiner Tor

    In last comment to Reiner Tor I made a table of risks for all possibilities.
     
    But you didn't assign realistic probabilities to them. The US backing off after receiving a half credible threat of nuclear war is very likely, because Syria is not very important to them. It's very important to Israel, and Israel regards it as their right to bomb it. It means that they are more likely to interpret the threats of nuclear war as a bluff (even if it wasn't - people are wishful thinkers) and thus call it, and even if they believed it was credible, they had a much larger likelihood of feeling that they just had no other options.
    , @Randal

    For many reasons much sounder and safer approach is to make an ultimatum to Israel that they must stop or else where the else must be something forceful and credible including a threat of nuclear strike.
     
    I agree, except that threatening a nuclear strike is imo neither necessary nor credible (such a threat in extremis is of course implicit anyway to some extent whenever a nuclear power negotiates in a military context).

    In reality imo, all Russia has to do is to threaten to sustain Syrian air defences as far as necessary and to stand aside while Syria, backed by Iran, enacts a policy of tit for tat strikes on targets in Israel in response to each and every Israeli strike in Syria. Vitally, though, this must not be a bluff, as there's a good chance Israel will try to call it. A hefty improvement in Syrian air defences should be carried out first.
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  114. Beckow says:
    @reiner Tor
    It's more than just GDP numbers. The world is arguably more globalized now than ever before. So the power of the dominant power to project economic force through secondary sanctions has probably grown relative to earlier ages.

    ….the power of the dominant power to project economic force through secondary sanctions has probably grown…

    True. But there are two things to consider:

    - Business thrives by growth on the margins, so leaving large markets untapped for a long time is unnatural in capitalism, sooner or later they will go for it

    - Economic downturn: unless an ahistoric miracle happens and US (and EU) don’t experience the usual economic contraction each decade or so, when the next crisis happens the chessboard will get completely scrambled. In 2008-9, Russia actively cooperated with the West in controlling the crisis (so did China). In the crisis, they could do the opposite and try to exacerbate it or take advantage of it.

    Secondary sanctions are not sustainable. Unless they collapse Russia (very unlikely), they end up adding new constraints that could be very painful. No rational player introduces a tool that cannot be sustained and that creates a lose-lose scenario down the road. In addition, any ‘sanctions’ over time undermine Western main weapon – the reserve status of its fiat currencies. I wonder about the irrationality of it all, but then maybe this is not primarily about business and economics. And that is serious.

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  115. @Mr. Hack
    It's quite clear that you've never been to Russia. I'll take the few streets that are due for repair in the US anyday against the basically missing good road infrastructure in Russia. Outside of Moscow and maybe St. Petes, what do you have? Mostly holes and rocks. I live out West, and the roads are great out here. You can't really be serious and try to compare the road system in the US with the one in Russia? :-)

    It’s quite clear that you’ve never been to Russia.

    Neither have you. You know how I know?

    ” Outside of Moscow and maybe St. Petes” — this is a phrase that’s only used by people who never set foot in Russia.

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  116. Gerard2 says:

    Lavrov’s daughter lived in America until for PR reasons he brought her to Russia

    Lavrov’s daughter was with him for years as a child when he worked at the UN in New York…would be pretty stupid to have had her educated in Russia when he’s working (patriotically) in New York, just to satisfy some guy in the UNZ blog. So she grew up and made her friends in America, went to University there…would be nothing unusual for her to stay there…if anything, it’s great she returned to Russia

    What “PR” reasons would he need for her to come back considering the secrecy that surrounds most of the kids of the Russian elite, except when they crash a car or get into a chase with the police or smething excessively degenerate ? Moscow is now one of the greatest, if not the greatest metropolis in the world.

    Are you suggesting that VVP and Lavrov are corrupt? Everything known about Putin inhe 90′s shows he was the most non-corrupt guy around, even with him working directly for the Mayor of Saint Petersburg and his KGB, then FSB connections

    One of Putin’s daughters used to live in Netherlands with her foreign BF until revently.

    So like Karlin you only read and believe liberast idiot media? This nonsense was suggested by New Times, I think.

    Putin’s spokesman/personal assistant Peskov has two ex-wifes, and they both live in the West. Peskov’s daughter leads a glamorous life in France.

    …who cares about Peskov? He’s an idiot and embarassment to the country in an unimportant job.

    Western travel bans are really painful for the Putin’s elite, because now they need to rethink their entire way of life. And they hate it. They seem to really hate the idea of living in the country they have built over the past 18 years. They are hoping against hope that the whole thing will blow over, and then they can go back to the way things were.

    Much of the elite ( and they aren’t a monolith, some are good) isn’t particularly Putin’s…as evidenced by the lack of money repatriation and just simple knowledge of these people.
    And anyway, they can’t all be living in the west AND be guilty of nepotism by giving state management/executive jobs to their kids at the same time …can they?…and the US and UK is one thing( but what can they do if their children have already grown up there in the 90′s & early 2000′s, when relations were fine and Russia struggling?)……..but no real problem with them liking to visit, their wifes shop and have holiday homes in France, Spain and Italy. Going to America or Switzerland to give birth/get western citizenship for their newborn?….10 years ago this would be normal behaviour for the elite…now I would regard it as a criminal act

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  117. @reiner Tor
    As I wrote elsewhere, China in its current form is an asshole, but a rational asshole. It doesn't care how you govern your country, as long as business is good for them. You can talk to them on a rational basis, and can come to an understanding. Obviously they will take from you if they feel they need it a lot and feel sufficiently strong to get it (see South China Sea), but you can talk to them.

    (Russia is similar. Russia doesn't give a shit about Russian minorities in your country, as long as you are supportive enough of Russian oligarchic interests and foreign policy goals. That might have been a way forward for the Baltic states back when it was still feasible in the 1990s. Probably it would've been easier to kick out Russians from their countries while being friendly to Russia itself, than being hostile to Russia and joining the West - the West allows them not to grant citizenship to all Russians there, but it doesn't allow them harder discrimination against them, so reducing their numbers is not so easy. Similarly, Ukraine could've gone fully unironically Nazi, outlawing Russian speech, while being friendly to Russia, before 2014. This route was open to them, Putin wouldn't have cared.)

    On the other hand, the US is just crazy. Orbán was quite friendly to them back before 2002, but their ambassador (appointed by W.) started attacking him for the "spread of anti-Semitism" or somesuch. Then he was still friendly to the US (and anti-Russian) during his opposition years (for example denouncing the "Russian aggression" in Georgia), but the US attacked him nevertheless (though these were already the Obama years) for his "attack on democracy" or whatnot.

    Similarly, the Americans forced South Korea and Taiwan (etc.) to democratize (and they became less successful economically after that), even though in the case of South Korea it was probably an own goal for the Americans (the South Koreans occasionally elect pro-North Korean leaders, like the current South Korean president), similarly like how democratization in some of the Arab countries was an own goal, but the US just can't help itself. It's actually similar with the EU (which is an autonomous vassal of the US empire), they forced Turkey to democratize, only to be surprised by the Islamization of Turkey and the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan government.

    Basically, you cannot just satisfy the current American/European elites by satisfying their interests: no, you also need to be a homosexual-loving immigrant-loving minority-loving "democratic" country (censoring "hate speech" is recommended), and in many cases their demands are just so irrational that they contradict each other (like democratization and secularization in the case of Turkey), but they just can't help.

    Having such an empire with its mad ideology is just bad, because you cannot satisfy their demands (their demands basically amount to national suicide in the long run), so Chinese (or Russian) overlords can only be improvements. (This might change in the future: China is still Marxist, Russia might go nationalist like Anatoly is proposing, and that might change the equation. I personally think that while it's possible that in 2014 they could've conquered a relatively large chunk of Ukraine, his insistence that he could easily assimilate half of Ukrainians within a few years or at worst a generation is just irrational, i.e. not a good model for reality. It'd create a large and hostile population within Russia's borders, which would probably weaken rather than strengthen it. All the while it'd be a drain on resources for a long time to come. Annexing Belarus might be different, but its political effects would be much worse, since Russia would just attack and annex an ally.)

    Similarly, Ukraine could’ve gone fully unironically Nazi, outlawing Russian speech, while being friendly to Russia, before 2014. This route was open to them, Putin wouldn’t have cared.

    What? This seems to make sense inside your head, but it would have never worked like this in real life. You see, Ukrainian nationalists hate Moscow as a power center far more than they hate individual Russians. The more nationalistic the Ukraine is, the stronger is the anti-Moscow sentiment. It couldn’t have worked any other way.

    Futhermore, I question your assumption that mass repressions against the Russians in the Ukraine would have elicited zero response from Russia, provided the regime in Kiev had no pro-Western aspirations. To be sure, the Russian public would care. And the Kremlin, always mindful of public opinion, would have to adjust its stance accordingly.

    Just to give you an example, the Kremlin cared when Kazakhstan tried to ban Russian television channels, and Kazakh regime is as friendly as they come. The idea that Kremlin would just ignore the assault on Russian language in the Ukraine seems absurd to me.

    https://thediplomat.com/2017/12/in-kazakhstans-battle-for-cable-tv-russia-stands-its-ground/

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Ukrainian nationalists hate Moscow as a power center
     
    I understand it, but it's basically a choice of Ukrainian nationalists. Similarly, the Baltic peoples hate Russia, so there's no way they'd have accommodated it.

    Just to give you an example
     
    Thanks. I agree, then my assumptions were probably off.

    Still I remember how oppression of the remaining Russian minority in places like Turkmenistan (or even Chechnya) elicited zero response from the Russian government. That's what I based my opinion on.
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  118. @Felix Keverich

    Similarly, Ukraine could’ve gone fully unironically Nazi, outlawing Russian speech, while being friendly to Russia, before 2014. This route was open to them, Putin wouldn’t have cared.
     
    What? This seems to make sense inside your head, but it would have never worked like this in real life. You see, Ukrainian nationalists hate Moscow as a power center far more than they hate individual Russians. The more nationalistic the Ukraine is, the stronger is the anti-Moscow sentiment. It couldn't have worked any other way.

    Futhermore, I question your assumption that mass repressions against the Russians in the Ukraine would have elicited zero response from Russia, provided the regime in Kiev had no pro-Western aspirations. To be sure, the Russian public would care. And the Kremlin, always mindful of public opinion, would have to adjust its stance accordingly.

    Just to give you an example, the Kremlin cared when Kazakhstan tried to ban Russian television channels, and Kazakh regime is as friendly as they come. The idea that Kremlin would just ignore the assault on Russian language in the Ukraine seems absurd to me.

    https://thediplomat.com/2017/12/in-kazakhstans-battle-for-cable-tv-russia-stands-its-ground/

    Ukrainian nationalists hate Moscow as a power center

    I understand it, but it’s basically a choice of Ukrainian nationalists. Similarly, the Baltic peoples hate Russia, so there’s no way they’d have accommodated it.

    Just to give you an example

    Thanks. I agree, then my assumptions were probably off.

    Still I remember how oppression of the remaining Russian minority in places like Turkmenistan (or even Chechnya) elicited zero response from the Russian government. That’s what I based my opinion on.

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  119. @utu
    I followed your exchange of arguments with AK and I was pleased to see that you argued more skillfully along the same line as I did with Reiner Tor few days ago. He basically did not want to have anything to do with Israel and wanted to allow Israel to keep bombing, For many reasons much sounder and safer approach is to make an ultimatum to Israel that they must stop or else where the else must be something forceful and credible including a threat of nuclear strike. By doing nothing the risk of nuclear war is higher and chances of getting first in conflict with the US first is more likely while in the meantime having Russia power and reputation being eroded with every new Israeli attack. In last comment to Reiner Tor I made a table of risks for all possibilities.

    Karlin's arguments just like Reiner Tor's were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice. AK can't do Real Politik arguing that Syria does not really love Russia and is just an opportunist Russophile. And Assad spent too much time in Paris instead of showing his obsequiousness in Moscow. Then Iran is not loving Russia strong enough either because it did not recognize Crimea. Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can't do politics if you want to be loved.

    What Russia will do nobody knows. Will Bibi help to make a deal with Trump for Russia? Or will Bibi get even more difficult during the World Cup? Perhaps AK should come up with some poll about possible outcomes for the next two months. With prizes. The grand prize for the one who predicts WWIII and the total annihilation.

    Karlin’s arguments just like Reiner Tor’s were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice.

    I agree. The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel seem to horrify AK for some reason. When I said that Russia should consider economic sanctions on Israel (by ending pension payments for example), he opposed even that.

    Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can’t do politics if you want to be loved.

    I don’t believe that is the case. Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it’s just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel
     
    I think I'm less horrified than Karlin, for example I thought that developing Syrian air defenses (with Russian mercenary crews, because it became obvious that the Syrians themselves are not quite up to the task of operating them) would be the way forward. After they start losing warplanes, their eagerness to bomb Syria would disappear.

    They might, of course, start a land war in response, but that would require a whole new level of escalation, something which might be difficult even for Israel, and would open up Israeli cities for retaliation by masses of ballistic missiles etc. Though Greasy wrote that that's what the Israeli military has been planning for for a long time, and that the Israeli public is prepared for taking losses (including civilian losses), it'd be difficult.

    However, Russia needs a game plan for the eventuality of an Israeli escalation to land war. I'd say let's Iran and Israel fight it out with land troops, with limited Russian air support over Syria. I don't think Israel has the ability to militarily occupy the whole of Syria - at worst they might encircle or even occupy Damascus (at least some parts of it - I doubt they'd have the stomach to organize a proper military occupation there), and maybe create a puppet South Syrian government, thus reigniting the civil war. But Israel's appetite for taking losses is relatively small, so I'd think there'd be a ceasefire pretty soon, after at worst a few months.

    But I understand the arguments why it wouldn't be much in Russia's interest to risk land war, much less nuclear war (in case of a US intervention), for the sake of Arabs or Iran. The main argument to do so is to enhance Russian credibility or something, which sounds to me similar to neocon arguments why Trump should care about some military coup in Mali or support Ukraine.

    I think some better arguments could be made that Russia should never threaten with something it isn't willing to follow through: Russia could be perfectly credible if it never threatened to provide Syria S-300 systems, and then indeed not delivering them. While the optics of Russia threatening with it, and then not following through, does hurt Russia's credibility.

    Similarly, don't threaten with retaliation against American launch platforms, and then not attack those launch platforms. It might be smarter to just threaten with war indirectly: place your nuclear forces on high alert, ask diplomatically NATO allies what they'd do in the event of a US attack on Russian or allied (i.e. Syrian) forces leading to a US-Russian war, and similar things. These would be implicit threats, and so not following through them wouldn't damage Russian credibility.

    , @reiner Tor
    I thought about the following, I don't know if there's any truth to it, since it's just a brainstorm idea, and I have exactly zero evidence* to back it up.

    It's well known that Israel has sold China some sensitive military technology it had received from the US. Is it not possible that they are transferring some military tech to Russia in exchange for Putin folding to them?

    *After a quick search, I found this:

    https://www.haaretz.com/1.5125231

    So there might be something to it.
    , @Dmitry

    I agree. The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel seem to horrify AK for some reason. When I said that Russia should consider economic sanctions on Israel (by ending pension payments for example), he opposed even that.

     

    Most people know military involvement with unrelated armies thousands of kilometers away is dumb, as it even with Turkey (well Turkey is a NATO member).

    The economic measures are easier, without risks and dangers, and can be more effective - the main one was used already with Turkey, in relation to stopping tourist flow there after shoot down of a Su-24 in November 2014. Tourist flow to Turkey fell 92% and the Turkish economy lost billions of dollars.

    But there would be a logical sequence of events if/when the Kremlin was unhappy with Israel airstrikes.

    The first thing would be (as was attempted after the US/France/UK airstrikes), to issue a condemnation in the UN Security Council. If after this is blocked, there would be looking into economic measures.

    But no condemnation has not been issued of these airstrikes in the UN Security Council so far. There has been no indication on the diplomatic level yet that Putin is unhappy with them, just an indication on a media level are embarrassed certain aspects like the Pantsir Twitter video.

    If there is unhappiness, the first thing will be seen is a condemnation submitted in the UN forum, as there was after the US/France/UK airstrikes in April.

    , @Gerard2

    I don’t believe that is the case. Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it’s just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.
     
    Karlin is not a Russian nationalist, he's not a Russian ethno-nationalist ( which is what I think you meant in the first instance).......he can only be described as a Russian-hating liberast, smart enough to know that if he writes directly the retarded things common on Ekho,meduza,new times,Novaya Gazeta,Dozhd,Znak etcet......then he will only appeal to the 1% of losers who believe this nonsense.....instead he must promote their nonsense via nefarious ways (like linking exclusively to their articles on one of his blog posts)

    Put it this way.....the hilariously stupid lies about Red Army "mass rapes" in Berlin, is exactly the kind of bullshit he would agree occured as part of his russophobia...done under the guise of being staunchly anti-Communist. His russian ethno-nationalism is that weak he couldn't even blame it on the central Asians or Kavkaz in the USSR because to do so would be disproven easily from the lack of any children with these kind of facial features born there.....so the Russian liberast take is what he would naturally fall back on.

    On the Israel issue, there's no excuse for Georgia and Ukraine now having close ties to Israel....Russia must force /bargain over Syria/Iran with Israel and get them to recognise officially and invest in Abkhazia & South Ossetia....and to recognise Crimea as part of Russia....particularly as Israel is under no pressure to be part of the "international community" needing to "send a signal " to Russia
    , @utu

    Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it’s just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.
     
    What might be the reason? The simplest one that does not invoke hidden allegiances and so on is that it is ineluctably systemic. Anybody who subscribes to IQism and some form of Libertarianism which are basically post Enlightenment mechanical and post Darwin biological belief systems w/o room for higher values of culture and religion will be easily demoralized with the meme of Jewish superior IQ and Jewish evident domination which he will not be able to counteract and basically won't be able to find any reason that biologically inferior (lower IQ) 'species' like Russians should dominate or even survive as Russians. Unlike the Han chauvinist Duke of Qin who wants Han Chinese to survive and dominate regardless of their culture because he sees them biologically superior (higher IQ). Correction, I do not really know what Duke of Qin thinks.

    Ideas have consequences and impoverished and banal ideas like IQism and Libertarianism have only bad consequences. It is possible they are being promoted for this exactly reason among young and impressionable young white boys in search of complete and consistent belief system. Fortunately women are more resistant to them probably for the same reason they do not like sci-fi as much as boys. These ideas keep boys longer in the sand box and the make belief world and they are debilitating because in this determinist world nothing really depends on them. In the deterministic Calvinism you could through hard work only after long time of effort find out if you were the chosen one but here a ten min IQ test will tell you with 50% probability that you are not the chosen one so just submit, bend over and and prepare for the life time of giving the blow jobs.

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  120. OT

    This is an interesting article I found in The Diplomat that you linked to:

    https://thediplomat.com/2018/05/russia-inducts-its-own-carrier-killer-missile-and-its-more-dangerous-than-chinas/

    Also, what do you guys think of the North Korean developments? Apparently it ain’t over till it’s over…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    It seems amateurishly written. The columnists in Diplomat love to speculate about military stuff they do not really understand, so take it with a grain of salt. But Russian missile tech is superior to Chinese missile tech - we knew that already.

    Also, what do you guys think of the North Korean developments?
     
    Basically, Americans are offering NK the same deal they offered to Iran: unilateral disarmament in exchange for some minor sanctions relief. But after USA broke Iran deal, NK might be having second thoughts.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    As Felix Keverich said, it is indeed amateurishly written.

    In fact, the author is completely incompetent.

    Two examples:

    The Kinzhal’s warhead is estimated at between 500 and 700 kilograms, a formidable payload though still well below that of China’s DF-21D. What sets the Kinzhal apart, however, and makes it a truly lethal ship hunter, is its combination of precision, range, and hypersonic speed of impact of over Mach 5.
     

    The DF-21D is a ballistic missile and as such its warhead will impact targets at hypersonic speeds as well.

    The precision of either platform is not known to the author as such that's just completely made up.

    From this it can be inferred that the Kinzhal, a longer ranged and much faster platform with approximately double the Brahmos’ kinetic energy and more than double the payload, is highly likely to be able to destroy even the largest of enemy warships with a single strike — and does so at distances of up to 2,000 km.
     

    Here the author confuses velocity with kinetic energy.

    In other words this guy is a complete doofus, yet somehow he's not only published in The Diplomat (which, obviously, has morons for editors) but is the chief editor of Military Watch. Instead he should've watched the blackboard in high school physics class.

    The lethality of the DF-21D and the Kinzhal will come down to accuracy (especially against maneuvering targets) and ability to resist countermeasures. Neither can be known until they're actually employed in combat.

    And while I hate to give the losers in our pathetic navy any credit, they're not wrong when they point out that finding and targeting our ships is half the battle.

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  121. @reiner Tor
    OT

    This is an interesting article I found in The Diplomat that you linked to:

    https://thediplomat.com/2018/05/russia-inducts-its-own-carrier-killer-missile-and-its-more-dangerous-than-chinas/

    Also, what do you guys think of the North Korean developments? Apparently it ain't over till it's over...

    It seems amateurishly written. The columnists in Diplomat love to speculate about military stuff they do not really understand, so take it with a grain of salt. But Russian missile tech is superior to Chinese missile tech – we knew that already.

    Also, what do you guys think of the North Korean developments?

    Basically, Americans are offering NK the same deal they offered to Iran: unilateral disarmament in exchange for some minor sanctions relief. But after USA broke Iran deal, NK might be having second thoughts.

    Read More
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  122. @Felix Keverich

    Karlin’s arguments just like Reiner Tor’s were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice.
     
    I agree. The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel seem to horrify AK for some reason. When I said that Russia should consider economic sanctions on Israel (by ending pension payments for example), he opposed even that.


    Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can’t do politics if you want to be loved.
     
    I don't believe that is the case. Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it's just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.

    The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel

    I think I’m less horrified than Karlin, for example I thought that developing Syrian air defenses (with Russian mercenary crews, because it became obvious that the Syrians themselves are not quite up to the task of operating them) would be the way forward. After they start losing warplanes, their eagerness to bomb Syria would disappear.

    They might, of course, start a land war in response, but that would require a whole new level of escalation, something which might be difficult even for Israel, and would open up Israeli cities for retaliation by masses of ballistic missiles etc. Though Greasy wrote that that’s what the Israeli military has been planning for for a long time, and that the Israeli public is prepared for taking losses (including civilian losses), it’d be difficult.

    However, Russia needs a game plan for the eventuality of an Israeli escalation to land war. I’d say let’s Iran and Israel fight it out with land troops, with limited Russian air support over Syria. I don’t think Israel has the ability to militarily occupy the whole of Syria – at worst they might encircle or even occupy Damascus (at least some parts of it – I doubt they’d have the stomach to organize a proper military occupation there), and maybe create a puppet South Syrian government, thus reigniting the civil war. But Israel’s appetite for taking losses is relatively small, so I’d think there’d be a ceasefire pretty soon, after at worst a few months.

    But I understand the arguments why it wouldn’t be much in Russia’s interest to risk land war, much less nuclear war (in case of a US intervention), for the sake of Arabs or Iran. The main argument to do so is to enhance Russian credibility or something, which sounds to me similar to neocon arguments why Trump should care about some military coup in Mali or support Ukraine.

    I think some better arguments could be made that Russia should never threaten with something it isn’t willing to follow through: Russia could be perfectly credible if it never threatened to provide Syria S-300 systems, and then indeed not delivering them. While the optics of Russia threatening with it, and then not following through, does hurt Russia’s credibility.

    Similarly, don’t threaten with retaliation against American launch platforms, and then not attack those launch platforms. It might be smarter to just threaten with war indirectly: place your nuclear forces on high alert, ask diplomatically NATO allies what they’d do in the event of a US attack on Russian or allied (i.e. Syrian) forces leading to a US-Russian war, and similar things. These would be implicit threats, and so not following through them wouldn’t damage Russian credibility.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    The idea of Israelis fighting a land war in Syria doesn't seem plausible to me. Their army is simply not up to the task. The Jews are cowardly people, very afraid of dying. Their preferred way of fighting is to use the goyim to do their fighting for them. So what could actually happen is that Israelis will somehow compel the rebels in Southern Syria to go on offensive against Assad with Israeli air support.

    The rebels in Southern Syria thus pose a potential threat. Eliminating them should be a priority for pro-Assad coalition.
    , @Dmitry
    The text seems a little like Neoconservativism or imperialism, but for other countries than America.

    Russia is justified in Syria, not only in my opinion, as it has been operating a bombing mission against terrorists and jihadists. Bombs falling on ISIS or Al Nusra, is something that starts to be very rational. Further than this (fighting conflicts with regional countries that there should have been good relations with and in which some of us have personal connections - whether Israel, or even Turkey), then I cannot see a reasoning that has any logic or common sense.

    But the usual reply for internet commentary, if someone gives advice for other countries to fight in the Middle East:- please feel free to volunteer to go to Middle East, and fight for the side of your preference.

    I won't aim this as you particularly, as a generally sensible person. But let's say someone like Saker from Switzerland - who talks all the time about a physical war which is going to happen between Russia and America. Perhaps he can be the first to volunteer to physically fight the American army (if that is his desired enemy side)?
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  123. @utu
    I followed your exchange of arguments with AK and I was pleased to see that you argued more skillfully along the same line as I did with Reiner Tor few days ago. He basically did not want to have anything to do with Israel and wanted to allow Israel to keep bombing, For many reasons much sounder and safer approach is to make an ultimatum to Israel that they must stop or else where the else must be something forceful and credible including a threat of nuclear strike. By doing nothing the risk of nuclear war is higher and chances of getting first in conflict with the US first is more likely while in the meantime having Russia power and reputation being eroded with every new Israeli attack. In last comment to Reiner Tor I made a table of risks for all possibilities.

    Karlin's arguments just like Reiner Tor's were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice. AK can't do Real Politik arguing that Syria does not really love Russia and is just an opportunist Russophile. And Assad spent too much time in Paris instead of showing his obsequiousness in Moscow. Then Iran is not loving Russia strong enough either because it did not recognize Crimea. Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can't do politics if you want to be loved.

    What Russia will do nobody knows. Will Bibi help to make a deal with Trump for Russia? Or will Bibi get even more difficult during the World Cup? Perhaps AK should come up with some poll about possible outcomes for the next two months. With prizes. The grand prize for the one who predicts WWIII and the total annihilation.

    In last comment to Reiner Tor I made a table of risks for all possibilities.

    But you didn’t assign realistic probabilities to them. The US backing off after receiving a half credible threat of nuclear war is very likely, because Syria is not very important to them. It’s very important to Israel, and Israel regards it as their right to bomb it. It means that they are more likely to interpret the threats of nuclear war as a bluff (even if it wasn’t – people are wishful thinkers) and thus call it, and even if they believed it was credible, they had a much larger likelihood of feeling that they just had no other options.

    Read More
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  124. @Felix Keverich

    Karlin’s arguments just like Reiner Tor’s were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice.
     
    I agree. The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel seem to horrify AK for some reason. When I said that Russia should consider economic sanctions on Israel (by ending pension payments for example), he opposed even that.


    Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can’t do politics if you want to be loved.
     
    I don't believe that is the case. Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it's just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.

    I thought about the following, I don’t know if there’s any truth to it, since it’s just a brainstorm idea, and I have exactly zero evidence* to back it up.

    It’s well known that Israel has sold China some sensitive military technology it had received from the US. Is it not possible that they are transferring some military tech to Russia in exchange for Putin folding to them?

    *After a quick search, I found this:

    https://www.haaretz.com/1.5125231

    So there might be something to it.

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  125. @reiner Tor

    The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel
     
    I think I'm less horrified than Karlin, for example I thought that developing Syrian air defenses (with Russian mercenary crews, because it became obvious that the Syrians themselves are not quite up to the task of operating them) would be the way forward. After they start losing warplanes, their eagerness to bomb Syria would disappear.

    They might, of course, start a land war in response, but that would require a whole new level of escalation, something which might be difficult even for Israel, and would open up Israeli cities for retaliation by masses of ballistic missiles etc. Though Greasy wrote that that's what the Israeli military has been planning for for a long time, and that the Israeli public is prepared for taking losses (including civilian losses), it'd be difficult.

    However, Russia needs a game plan for the eventuality of an Israeli escalation to land war. I'd say let's Iran and Israel fight it out with land troops, with limited Russian air support over Syria. I don't think Israel has the ability to militarily occupy the whole of Syria - at worst they might encircle or even occupy Damascus (at least some parts of it - I doubt they'd have the stomach to organize a proper military occupation there), and maybe create a puppet South Syrian government, thus reigniting the civil war. But Israel's appetite for taking losses is relatively small, so I'd think there'd be a ceasefire pretty soon, after at worst a few months.

    But I understand the arguments why it wouldn't be much in Russia's interest to risk land war, much less nuclear war (in case of a US intervention), for the sake of Arabs or Iran. The main argument to do so is to enhance Russian credibility or something, which sounds to me similar to neocon arguments why Trump should care about some military coup in Mali or support Ukraine.

    I think some better arguments could be made that Russia should never threaten with something it isn't willing to follow through: Russia could be perfectly credible if it never threatened to provide Syria S-300 systems, and then indeed not delivering them. While the optics of Russia threatening with it, and then not following through, does hurt Russia's credibility.

    Similarly, don't threaten with retaliation against American launch platforms, and then not attack those launch platforms. It might be smarter to just threaten with war indirectly: place your nuclear forces on high alert, ask diplomatically NATO allies what they'd do in the event of a US attack on Russian or allied (i.e. Syrian) forces leading to a US-Russian war, and similar things. These would be implicit threats, and so not following through them wouldn't damage Russian credibility.

    The idea of Israelis fighting a land war in Syria doesn’t seem plausible to me. Their army is simply not up to the task. The Jews are cowardly people, very afraid of dying. Their preferred way of fighting is to use the goyim to do their fighting for them. So what could actually happen is that Israelis will somehow compel the rebels in Southern Syria to go on offensive against Assad with Israeli air support.

    The rebels in Southern Syria thus pose a potential threat. Eliminating them should be a priority for pro-Assad coalition.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Well the first sentence was obviously right. But then afterwards it was a cartoon.

    Israeli culture (like a lot of Arab culture) is often glorification for dying for the country and they are often dying as soldiers in the army (while we are posting comments about cowardliness while on an internet message board, sitting in front of a desk). The historical saying for families in Israel, was should have 3 children because you'll sacrifice 1 in the army.

    As for whether Israel will launch a land-war in Syria, obviously not, as I don't think they are completely retarded.

    As for whether Russia should be involved in the region. Yes - to bomb some terrorists. But not to an extent that risks any personnel, or is wasting economic resources.
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  126. Mr. Hack says:
    @for-the-record
    You’d actually stoop to having a few 100grm shots of Neimiroff with a ‘liar and an embarassment’?

    Beware of strangers offering free drinks!

    https://cdni.rt.com/files/2018.05/article/5af5afd7dda4c820318b4631.jpg

    Dark colored sunflower oil? Nah, must be some kind of homemade horilka made from spoiled beets with some leftover wood alcohol? :-(

    Vechnaya pamiat!

    Read More
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  127. I understand that going to war with Israel is probably not the smartest move, but this kind of statement is simply DEGRADING for a country that aspires for an important role in the Middle East.

    You can either unapologetically side with murderers (the way US does), or with their victims (like Iran did). But drawing a moral equivalence between the murderers and their victims, asking the victims to “show restraint” is something that only Putin’s Russia does today.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record, @Thorfinnsson
    Or just do nothing at all.

    The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is something that concerns Russia in no way whatsoever. The global obsession with it is one of the strangest things in the world.

    I don't even know what happened, and I absolutely refuse to learn about it. Caring about this is a character flaw unless one has skin in the game (i.e. is Judish, Mohammedan, or Arabalonian).

    That said I could understand cynically exploiting the issue to put pressure on Israel as required.

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  128. @Felix Keverich
    I understand that going to war with Israel is probably not the smartest move, but this kind of statement is simply DEGRADING for a country that aspires for an important role in the Middle East.

    https://twitter.com/SputnikInt/status/996655902567616512

    You can either unapologetically side with murderers (the way US does), or with their victims (like Iran did). But drawing a moral equivalence between the murderers and their victims, asking the victims to "show restraint" is something that only Putin's Russia does today.
    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    Alas, Putin is not alone:

    Theresa May demands ‘all sides’ show restraint after Israeli troops shoot dead scores of Palestinians at Gaza border

    Gaza: EU calls for restraint on both sides following deaths of dozens of Palestinian protesters

     

    Surprise surprise, world leaders queue up to abase themselves to the jewish state, shamefully pretending to believe that black is white in order to avoid expressing any inconvenient truth that might upset the latter and its influential lobbies in their own countries.

    But don't even think about saying that you think there might be some degree of excessive jewish influence in the world and in those countries! That would be anti-Semitic hate speech, and might get you locked up in "free" countries like the UK.
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  129. @Felix Keverich
    I understand that going to war with Israel is probably not the smartest move, but this kind of statement is simply DEGRADING for a country that aspires for an important role in the Middle East.

    https://twitter.com/SputnikInt/status/996655902567616512

    You can either unapologetically side with murderers (the way US does), or with their victims (like Iran did). But drawing a moral equivalence between the murderers and their victims, asking the victims to "show restraint" is something that only Putin's Russia does today.

    Or just do nothing at all.

    The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is something that concerns Russia in no way whatsoever. The global obsession with it is one of the strangest things in the world.

    I don’t even know what happened, and I absolutely refuse to learn about it. Caring about this is a character flaw unless one has skin in the game (i.e. is Judish, Mohammedan, or Arabalonian).

    That said I could understand cynically exploiting the issue to put pressure on Israel as required.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    It's a rare opportunity for Russia to position itself as a moral superpower. After all the crap we got for "bombing Aleppo hospitals", it's the least we could do.

    I would also like to see "Russian opposition leaders" (most of them are Jewish and militantly pro-Israel) on national TV trying to justify this massacre.

    There are so many opportunities here, which the Kremlin is underutilising...
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  130. @reiner Tor
    OT

    This is an interesting article I found in The Diplomat that you linked to:

    https://thediplomat.com/2018/05/russia-inducts-its-own-carrier-killer-missile-and-its-more-dangerous-than-chinas/

    Also, what do you guys think of the North Korean developments? Apparently it ain't over till it's over...

    As Felix Keverich said, it is indeed amateurishly written.

    In fact, the author is completely incompetent.

    Two examples:

    The Kinzhal’s warhead is estimated at between 500 and 700 kilograms, a formidable payload though still well below that of China’s DF-21D. What sets the Kinzhal apart, however, and makes it a truly lethal ship hunter, is its combination of precision, range, and hypersonic speed of impact of over Mach 5.

    The DF-21D is a ballistic missile and as such its warhead will impact targets at hypersonic speeds as well.

    The precision of either platform is not known to the author as such that’s just completely made up.

    From this it can be inferred that the Kinzhal, a longer ranged and much faster platform with approximately double the Brahmos’ kinetic energy and more than double the payload, is highly likely to be able to destroy even the largest of enemy warships with a single strike — and does so at distances of up to 2,000 km.

    Here the author confuses velocity with kinetic energy.

    In other words this guy is a complete doofus, yet somehow he’s not only published in The Diplomat (which, obviously, has morons for editors) but is the chief editor of Military Watch. Instead he should’ve watched the blackboard in high school physics class.

    The lethality of the DF-21D and the Kinzhal will come down to accuracy (especially against maneuvering targets) and ability to resist countermeasures. Neither can be known until they’re actually employed in combat.

    And while I hate to give the losers in our pathetic navy any credit, they’re not wrong when they point out that finding and targeting our ships is half the battle.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I didn't care for the details at all, which is why I only skimmed through the article.

    What I found interesting is what those missiles (and other similar missiles to be developed over the next several years by the Chinese) might mean for the balance in the Pacific. Previously I had never thought of Russia as a serious player in the Pacific.

    I just had a conversation in a Hungarian FB group about China's rise as a maritime power, and the guy (apparently some kind of military historian) was arguing that China is not dangerous to US supremacy for "at least a generation" and that it needed way more time ("two or three generations") to reach parity with it. I tried to argue that 1) the example of Germany at the beginning of the 20th century means that you can build a quality fleet over just 17 years (half the size of the then leading power Britain), and that 2) while Germany tried to replicate the British fleet, the Chinese are trying to find asymmetric answers by fighting capital ships using anti-ship missiles. This means that it's possible (though I also argued far from a certainty, see below) that in a couple decades (shorter than even just one generation) China would match US maritime power. Anyway, even if it's unlikely (and I can see no reason to think it is - though then again, it's far from a certainty either), I wouldn't bet my house on this not happening. (A lot of the guy's arguments were nonsense but irrelevant here.)

    finding and targeting our ships is half the battle
     
    That was already the case in the Second World War. The sea was always more porous than a land frontline, and for example at Midway finding the Japanese carriers was the most important part of the battle.

    I'm not sure how these missiles are even theoretically able to find their targets, though I think for the Kinzhal it might take just fifteen minutes, and maybe the distance covered during that time is not enough to get far enough. But how would they launch them in the first place? I mean, the MiG-31s needed some indication where the ship was in the first place...

    So maybe these missiles are totally pointless anyway. It doesn’t seem likely that under the conditions of war (especially if satellites were destroyed) it’d be easy to find a capital ship to target it. They might be best used on the first day of the war more effectively, though.
    , @Anonymous
    The Diplomat will publish any coherent manuscript by anyone (Master's students in IR and war studies) and maybe even pay them 20 cents a word for their troubles.
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  131. Interesting article by David Stockman, the first of an apparent series:

    Why the Empire Never Sleeps: The Indispensable Nation Folly, Part 1

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  132. @Thorfinnsson
    Or just do nothing at all.

    The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is something that concerns Russia in no way whatsoever. The global obsession with it is one of the strangest things in the world.

    I don't even know what happened, and I absolutely refuse to learn about it. Caring about this is a character flaw unless one has skin in the game (i.e. is Judish, Mohammedan, or Arabalonian).

    That said I could understand cynically exploiting the issue to put pressure on Israel as required.

    It’s a rare opportunity for Russia to position itself as a moral superpower. After all the crap we got for “bombing Aleppo hospitals”, it’s the least we could do.

    I would also like to see “Russian opposition leaders” (most of them are Jewish and militantly pro-Israel) on national TV trying to justify this massacre.

    There are so many opportunities here, which the Kremlin is underutilising…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    The Aleppo thing was hilarious. Russia was apparently blowing up 500 hospitals per hour to judge by our propaganda.

    I don't think anyone gives a shit about the "moral superpower" thing, as this simply means Western liberalism. Instead Russia will be denounced as ANTISEMITIC.

    It's also clear that the Islamic world, other than Iran, doesn't give a shit about the Palestinians either. Maybe Turkey.

    That said the domestic political angle you suggest is interesting.
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  133. @Thorfinnsson
    As Felix Keverich said, it is indeed amateurishly written.

    In fact, the author is completely incompetent.

    Two examples:

    The Kinzhal’s warhead is estimated at between 500 and 700 kilograms, a formidable payload though still well below that of China’s DF-21D. What sets the Kinzhal apart, however, and makes it a truly lethal ship hunter, is its combination of precision, range, and hypersonic speed of impact of over Mach 5.
     

    The DF-21D is a ballistic missile and as such its warhead will impact targets at hypersonic speeds as well.

    The precision of either platform is not known to the author as such that's just completely made up.

    From this it can be inferred that the Kinzhal, a longer ranged and much faster platform with approximately double the Brahmos’ kinetic energy and more than double the payload, is highly likely to be able to destroy even the largest of enemy warships with a single strike — and does so at distances of up to 2,000 km.
     

    Here the author confuses velocity with kinetic energy.

    In other words this guy is a complete doofus, yet somehow he's not only published in The Diplomat (which, obviously, has morons for editors) but is the chief editor of Military Watch. Instead he should've watched the blackboard in high school physics class.

    The lethality of the DF-21D and the Kinzhal will come down to accuracy (especially against maneuvering targets) and ability to resist countermeasures. Neither can be known until they're actually employed in combat.

    And while I hate to give the losers in our pathetic navy any credit, they're not wrong when they point out that finding and targeting our ships is half the battle.

    I didn’t care for the details at all, which is why I only skimmed through the article.

    What I found interesting is what those missiles (and other similar missiles to be developed over the next several years by the Chinese) might mean for the balance in the Pacific. Previously I had never thought of Russia as a serious player in the Pacific.

    I just had a conversation in a Hungarian FB group about China’s rise as a maritime power, and the guy (apparently some kind of military historian) was arguing that China is not dangerous to US supremacy for “at least a generation” and that it needed way more time (“two or three generations”) to reach parity with it. I tried to argue that 1) the example of Germany at the beginning of the 20th century means that you can build a quality fleet over just 17 years (half the size of the then leading power Britain), and that 2) while Germany tried to replicate the British fleet, the Chinese are trying to find asymmetric answers by fighting capital ships using anti-ship missiles. This means that it’s possible (though I also argued far from a certainty, see below) that in a couple decades (shorter than even just one generation) China would match US maritime power. Anyway, even if it’s unlikely (and I can see no reason to think it is – though then again, it’s far from a certainty either), I wouldn’t bet my house on this not happening. (A lot of the guy’s arguments were nonsense but irrelevant here.)

    finding and targeting our ships is half the battle

    That was already the case in the Second World War. The sea was always more porous than a land frontline, and for example at Midway finding the Japanese carriers was the most important part of the battle.

    I’m not sure how these missiles are even theoretically able to find their targets, though I think for the Kinzhal it might take just fifteen minutes, and maybe the distance covered during that time is not enough to get far enough. But how would they launch them in the first place? I mean, the MiG-31s needed some indication where the ship was in the first place…

    So maybe these missiles are totally pointless anyway. It doesn’t seem likely that under the conditions of war (especially if satellites were destroyed) it’d be easy to find a capital ship to target it. They might be best used on the first day of the war more effectively, though.

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    • Replies: @songbird

    It doesn’t seem likely that under the conditions of war (especially if satellites were destroyed) it’d be easy to find a capital ship to target it.
     
    You don't need expensive satellites to see ships. Cubesats can see ships. They generally cost around $100,000 to build or so, and, if need be they can be launched from small rockets, or in scores from medium-sized ones. There are commercial services which are building cubesat networks with the goal of total practical real time coverage of the earth - in part to tract ships. Coverage is already quite wide. Besides which there are ultra-endurance drones which can stay aloft for days.

    Technology is upending the balance. IMO, there is really no hope for a carrier group to hide. In the sense of a war between real powers, they are white elephants. They are sort of like the battleships that helped beat up Saddam's army. More capable, of course, but they can only be used to beat up other Saddams or to deter pirates.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Matching global American maritime power will likely take China decades, if nothing else owing to the time it will take to acquire a global network of air and naval bases. China can get the shipbuilding side of it done quite quickly if it chooses to owing to its enormous industrial capacity, but the Chinese have chosen not to do this.

    Defeating the US and its allies in the Western Pacific on the other hand China will be able to do by 2030, and perhaps sooner.

    That was already the case in the Second World War. The sea was always more porous than a land frontline, and for example at Midway finding the Japanese carriers was the most important part of the battle.

    I’m not sure how these missiles are even theoretically able to find their targets, though I think for the Kinzhal it might take just fifteen minutes, and maybe the distance covered during that time is not enough to get far enough. But how would they launch them in the first place? I mean, the MiG-31s needed some indication where the ship was in the first place…

    So maybe these missiles are totally pointless anyway. It doesn’t seem likely that under the conditions of war (especially if satellites were destroyed) it’d be easy to find a capital ship to target it. They might be best used on the first day of the war more effectively, though.
     

    The missiles certainly aren't pointless, as they're harder to intercept than preceding generations of missiles. And the increased kinetic energy is a nice touch, especially helpful if the warhead fails to detonate.

    We don't know how Aegis BMD and Standard Missiles will perform in combat, but they're allegedly formidable.

    See this Binkov's Battlegrounds video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcwDfaY4OW4

    The missiles are however not game changers for the simple reason that the previous generation of Russian missiles were already excellent, and there are plenty of other ways to sink ships other than hypersonic missiles.

    Carlton Meyer, a retired US Marine Corps officer and military dissident, has proposed turning wide-body airliners into maritime patrol bombers. A squadron of such aircraft could launch a salvo of one thousand antiship missiles at an enemy naval taskforce, for instance. Even a thousand V-1s from 1944 (with modern guidance packages) would probably get the job done here.

    Fantasizing about invincible antiship missiles vanquishing American carrier battlegroups is pointless without considering reconnaissance, launching platforms, doctrine, and training. I am sure even the good Admiral Martyanov would agree, though probably not the Faker.

    China incidentally has been investing very heavily in various reconnaissance assets in the Pacific, but to my knowledge Russia has not. The Soviet Navy did make such investments and even maintained an inventory of maritime surveillance satellites which could be launched into polar orbit at any time. Maybe some of those systems are still around?

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  134. Dmitry says:
    @Felix Keverich
    The idea of Israelis fighting a land war in Syria doesn't seem plausible to me. Their army is simply not up to the task. The Jews are cowardly people, very afraid of dying. Their preferred way of fighting is to use the goyim to do their fighting for them. So what could actually happen is that Israelis will somehow compel the rebels in Southern Syria to go on offensive against Assad with Israeli air support.

    The rebels in Southern Syria thus pose a potential threat. Eliminating them should be a priority for pro-Assad coalition.

    Well the first sentence was obviously right. But then afterwards it was a cartoon.

    Israeli culture (like a lot of Arab culture) is often glorification for dying for the country and they are often dying as soldiers in the army (while we are posting comments about cowardliness while on an internet message board, sitting in front of a desk). The historical saying for families in Israel, was should have 3 children because you’ll sacrifice 1 in the army.

    As for whether Israel will launch a land-war in Syria, obviously not, as I don’t think they are completely retarded.

    As for whether Russia should be involved in the region. Yes – to bomb some terrorists. But not to an extent that risks any personnel, or is wasting economic resources.

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  135. Dmitry says:
    @reiner Tor

    The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel
     
    I think I'm less horrified than Karlin, for example I thought that developing Syrian air defenses (with Russian mercenary crews, because it became obvious that the Syrians themselves are not quite up to the task of operating them) would be the way forward. After they start losing warplanes, their eagerness to bomb Syria would disappear.

    They might, of course, start a land war in response, but that would require a whole new level of escalation, something which might be difficult even for Israel, and would open up Israeli cities for retaliation by masses of ballistic missiles etc. Though Greasy wrote that that's what the Israeli military has been planning for for a long time, and that the Israeli public is prepared for taking losses (including civilian losses), it'd be difficult.

    However, Russia needs a game plan for the eventuality of an Israeli escalation to land war. I'd say let's Iran and Israel fight it out with land troops, with limited Russian air support over Syria. I don't think Israel has the ability to militarily occupy the whole of Syria - at worst they might encircle or even occupy Damascus (at least some parts of it - I doubt they'd have the stomach to organize a proper military occupation there), and maybe create a puppet South Syrian government, thus reigniting the civil war. But Israel's appetite for taking losses is relatively small, so I'd think there'd be a ceasefire pretty soon, after at worst a few months.

    But I understand the arguments why it wouldn't be much in Russia's interest to risk land war, much less nuclear war (in case of a US intervention), for the sake of Arabs or Iran. The main argument to do so is to enhance Russian credibility or something, which sounds to me similar to neocon arguments why Trump should care about some military coup in Mali or support Ukraine.

    I think some better arguments could be made that Russia should never threaten with something it isn't willing to follow through: Russia could be perfectly credible if it never threatened to provide Syria S-300 systems, and then indeed not delivering them. While the optics of Russia threatening with it, and then not following through, does hurt Russia's credibility.

    Similarly, don't threaten with retaliation against American launch platforms, and then not attack those launch platforms. It might be smarter to just threaten with war indirectly: place your nuclear forces on high alert, ask diplomatically NATO allies what they'd do in the event of a US attack on Russian or allied (i.e. Syrian) forces leading to a US-Russian war, and similar things. These would be implicit threats, and so not following through them wouldn't damage Russian credibility.

    The text seems a little like Neoconservativism or imperialism, but for other countries than America.

    Russia is justified in Syria, not only in my opinion, as it has been operating a bombing mission against terrorists and jihadists. Bombs falling on ISIS or Al Nusra, is something that starts to be very rational. Further than this (fighting conflicts with regional countries that there should have been good relations with and in which some of us have personal connections – whether Israel, or even Turkey), then I cannot see a reasoning that has any logic or common sense.

    But the usual reply for internet commentary, if someone gives advice for other countries to fight in the Middle East:- please feel free to volunteer to go to Middle East, and fight for the side of your preference.

    I won’t aim this as you particularly, as a generally sensible person. But let’s say someone like Saker from Switzerland – who talks all the time about a physical war which is going to happen between Russia and America. Perhaps he can be the first to volunteer to physically fight the American army (if that is his desired enemy side)?

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  136. Dmitry says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Karlin’s arguments just like Reiner Tor’s were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice.
     
    I agree. The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel seem to horrify AK for some reason. When I said that Russia should consider economic sanctions on Israel (by ending pension payments for example), he opposed even that.


    Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can’t do politics if you want to be loved.
     
    I don't believe that is the case. Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it's just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.

    I agree. The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel seem to horrify AK for some reason. When I said that Russia should consider economic sanctions on Israel (by ending pension payments for example), he opposed even that.

    Most people know military involvement with unrelated armies thousands of kilometers away is dumb, as it even with Turkey (well Turkey is a NATO member).

    The economic measures are easier, without risks and dangers, and can be more effective – the main one was used already with Turkey, in relation to stopping tourist flow there after shoot down of a Su-24 in November 2014. Tourist flow to Turkey fell 92% and the Turkish economy lost billions of dollars.

    But there would be a logical sequence of events if/when the Kremlin was unhappy with Israel airstrikes.

    The first thing would be (as was attempted after the US/France/UK airstrikes), to issue a condemnation in the UN Security Council. If after this is blocked, there would be looking into economic measures.

    But no condemnation has not been issued of these airstrikes in the UN Security Council so far. There has been no indication on the diplomatic level yet that Putin is unhappy with them, just an indication on a media level are embarrassed certain aspects like the Pantsir Twitter video.

    If there is unhappiness, the first thing will be seen is a condemnation submitted in the UN forum, as there was after the US/France/UK airstrikes in April.

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    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    But no condemnation has not been issued of these airstrikes in the UN Security Council so far. There has been no indication on the diplomatic level yet that Putin is unhappy with them, just an indication on a media level are embarrassed certain aspects like the Pantsir Twitter video.
     
    Why would Russia be unhappy that the Iranian presence in Syria is being cut down to size? Iran and Russia are allied with Syria, not with each other. As a neighboring country from which Russia has hacked off big hunks, Iran is certainly no friend of Russia.
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  137. Dmitry says:
    @reiner Tor

    If Israel ever hits Russian personnel, that would be the time for Russia to eliminate Israel as a civilization once and for all. No sense letting them get back up for more machinations and revenge against Russia in the future. Whatever the US would do to Russia after that, the world would finally be rid of Israel and its vicious people.
     
    Obviously you are not Russian, nor do you care about Russians at all. You are similar to utu in hoping for a nuclear war between Russia and Israel, and are disappointed at Russia failing to sacrifice itself (or at the very worst a substantial portion of its population - Israel can probably nuke a few Russian cities in retaliation) for the greater good of destroying Israel.

    He probably justifiably doesn’t like that America is too close to Israel, or Israel is too unhealthily worshiped in American politics.

    His idea that Russia will have a nuclear war with Israel, where all countries destroy each other, is also apparently popular in some biblical prophecy websites, as they believe it matches to the Gog and Magog prophecy.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gog_and_Magog#Modern_apocalypticism

    But the nation-state conflict is between Israel and Iran. Between Russia and Israel, the main conflict is a secondary one through Israel’s relation to America, or Russia’s relation to Syria.

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  138. @Felix Keverich
    It's a rare opportunity for Russia to position itself as a moral superpower. After all the crap we got for "bombing Aleppo hospitals", it's the least we could do.

    I would also like to see "Russian opposition leaders" (most of them are Jewish and militantly pro-Israel) on national TV trying to justify this massacre.

    There are so many opportunities here, which the Kremlin is underutilising...

    The Aleppo thing was hilarious. Russia was apparently blowing up 500 hospitals per hour to judge by our propaganda.

    I don’t think anyone gives a shit about the “moral superpower” thing, as this simply means Western liberalism. Instead Russia will be denounced as ANTISEMITIC.

    It’s also clear that the Islamic world, other than Iran, doesn’t give a shit about the Palestinians either. Maybe Turkey.

    That said the domestic political angle you suggest is interesting.

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  139. songbird says:
    @reiner Tor
    I didn't care for the details at all, which is why I only skimmed through the article.

    What I found interesting is what those missiles (and other similar missiles to be developed over the next several years by the Chinese) might mean for the balance in the Pacific. Previously I had never thought of Russia as a serious player in the Pacific.

    I just had a conversation in a Hungarian FB group about China's rise as a maritime power, and the guy (apparently some kind of military historian) was arguing that China is not dangerous to US supremacy for "at least a generation" and that it needed way more time ("two or three generations") to reach parity with it. I tried to argue that 1) the example of Germany at the beginning of the 20th century means that you can build a quality fleet over just 17 years (half the size of the then leading power Britain), and that 2) while Germany tried to replicate the British fleet, the Chinese are trying to find asymmetric answers by fighting capital ships using anti-ship missiles. This means that it's possible (though I also argued far from a certainty, see below) that in a couple decades (shorter than even just one generation) China would match US maritime power. Anyway, even if it's unlikely (and I can see no reason to think it is - though then again, it's far from a certainty either), I wouldn't bet my house on this not happening. (A lot of the guy's arguments were nonsense but irrelevant here.)

    finding and targeting our ships is half the battle
     
    That was already the case in the Second World War. The sea was always more porous than a land frontline, and for example at Midway finding the Japanese carriers was the most important part of the battle.

    I'm not sure how these missiles are even theoretically able to find their targets, though I think for the Kinzhal it might take just fifteen minutes, and maybe the distance covered during that time is not enough to get far enough. But how would they launch them in the first place? I mean, the MiG-31s needed some indication where the ship was in the first place...

    So maybe these missiles are totally pointless anyway. It doesn’t seem likely that under the conditions of war (especially if satellites were destroyed) it’d be easy to find a capital ship to target it. They might be best used on the first day of the war more effectively, though.

    It doesn’t seem likely that under the conditions of war (especially if satellites were destroyed) it’d be easy to find a capital ship to target it.

    You don’t need expensive satellites to see ships. Cubesats can see ships. They generally cost around $100,000 to build or so, and, if need be they can be launched from small rockets, or in scores from medium-sized ones. There are commercial services which are building cubesat networks with the goal of total practical real time coverage of the earth – in part to tract ships. Coverage is already quite wide. Besides which there are ultra-endurance drones which can stay aloft for days.

    Technology is upending the balance. IMO, there is really no hope for a carrier group to hide. In the sense of a war between real powers, they are white elephants. They are sort of like the battleships that helped beat up Saddam’s army. More capable, of course, but they can only be used to beat up other Saddams or to deter pirates.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Ships which don't emit radio signals remain difficult to find.

    Satellites on the other hand are easy to find and destroy. Only polar orbit satellites are useful for this purpose as well, and as such they can be evaded to some extent.

    This is why China invests in more ISR systems than just satellites. They have some kind of big radar drone high altitude blimp program for instance.

    Best practice is really to simply track ships continuously. Have agents in ports report when ships leave, then shadow them. This is however expensive (need lots of assets) and provocative (especially if you're shadowing a boomer).

    I do suspect that the carriers are white elephants none the less however, especially in light of the fact that no carriers afloat currently carry long-range interceptors. If I were constructing a navy from scratch I would omit large surface ships entirely.

    The "need" to bully Third World countries some people use to justify carriers can be accomplished for a lot less money with long-range land-based bombers.

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  140. @reiner Tor
    I didn't care for the details at all, which is why I only skimmed through the article.

    What I found interesting is what those missiles (and other similar missiles to be developed over the next several years by the Chinese) might mean for the balance in the Pacific. Previously I had never thought of Russia as a serious player in the Pacific.

    I just had a conversation in a Hungarian FB group about China's rise as a maritime power, and the guy (apparently some kind of military historian) was arguing that China is not dangerous to US supremacy for "at least a generation" and that it needed way more time ("two or three generations") to reach parity with it. I tried to argue that 1) the example of Germany at the beginning of the 20th century means that you can build a quality fleet over just 17 years (half the size of the then leading power Britain), and that 2) while Germany tried to replicate the British fleet, the Chinese are trying to find asymmetric answers by fighting capital ships using anti-ship missiles. This means that it's possible (though I also argued far from a certainty, see below) that in a couple decades (shorter than even just one generation) China would match US maritime power. Anyway, even if it's unlikely (and I can see no reason to think it is - though then again, it's far from a certainty either), I wouldn't bet my house on this not happening. (A lot of the guy's arguments were nonsense but irrelevant here.)

    finding and targeting our ships is half the battle
     
    That was already the case in the Second World War. The sea was always more porous than a land frontline, and for example at Midway finding the Japanese carriers was the most important part of the battle.

    I'm not sure how these missiles are even theoretically able to find their targets, though I think for the Kinzhal it might take just fifteen minutes, and maybe the distance covered during that time is not enough to get far enough. But how would they launch them in the first place? I mean, the MiG-31s needed some indication where the ship was in the first place...

    So maybe these missiles are totally pointless anyway. It doesn’t seem likely that under the conditions of war (especially if satellites were destroyed) it’d be easy to find a capital ship to target it. They might be best used on the first day of the war more effectively, though.

    Matching global American maritime power will likely take China decades, if nothing else owing to the time it will take to acquire a global network of air and naval bases. China can get the shipbuilding side of it done quite quickly if it chooses to owing to its enormous industrial capacity, but the Chinese have chosen not to do this.

    Defeating the US and its allies in the Western Pacific on the other hand China will be able to do by 2030, and perhaps sooner.

    That was already the case in the Second World War. The sea was always more porous than a land frontline, and for example at Midway finding the Japanese carriers was the most important part of the battle.

    I’m not sure how these missiles are even theoretically able to find their targets, though I think for the Kinzhal it might take just fifteen minutes, and maybe the distance covered during that time is not enough to get far enough. But how would they launch them in the first place? I mean, the MiG-31s needed some indication where the ship was in the first place…

    So maybe these missiles are totally pointless anyway. It doesn’t seem likely that under the conditions of war (especially if satellites were destroyed) it’d be easy to find a capital ship to target it. They might be best used on the first day of the war more effectively, though.

    The missiles certainly aren’t pointless, as they’re harder to intercept than preceding generations of missiles. And the increased kinetic energy is a nice touch, especially helpful if the warhead fails to detonate.

    We don’t know how Aegis BMD and Standard Missiles will perform in combat, but they’re allegedly formidable.

    See this Binkov’s Battlegrounds video:

    The missiles are however not game changers for the simple reason that the previous generation of Russian missiles were already excellent, and there are plenty of other ways to sink ships other than hypersonic missiles.

    Carlton Meyer, a retired US Marine Corps officer and military dissident, has proposed turning wide-body airliners into maritime patrol bombers. A squadron of such aircraft could launch a salvo of one thousand antiship missiles at an enemy naval taskforce, for instance. Even a thousand V-1s from 1944 (with modern guidance packages) would probably get the job done here.

    Fantasizing about invincible antiship missiles vanquishing American carrier battlegroups is pointless without considering reconnaissance, launching platforms, doctrine, and training. I am sure even the good Admiral Martyanov would agree, though probably not the Faker.

    China incidentally has been investing very heavily in various reconnaissance assets in the Pacific, but to my knowledge Russia has not. The Soviet Navy did make such investments and even maintained an inventory of maritime surveillance satellites which could be launched into polar orbit at any time. Maybe some of those systems are still around?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Matching global American maritime power will likely take China decades, if nothing else owing to the time it will take to acquire a global network of air and naval bases.
     
    The debate was about whether China could be bottled up the way the German fleet was bottled up at Kiel. My interlocutor said it needed at least a couple generations to be able to break out in case of a battle. I said it was possible (I’d never say it was impossible: how can I know?), but that I wouldn’t bet my house on it.

    We don’t know how Aegis BMD and Standard Missiles will perform in combat, but they’re allegedly formidable.
     
    I wrote that the Americans seem to think that they have sufficient protection against these toys. I tend to at least half believe them right now. (Probably one missile wouldn’t be enough per ship. How many missiles do the Russians have? How many can they launch simultaneously, when for example the Kinzhals need one MiG-31 each?) But my guess is that its probably cheaper to build more or better missiles than an ever more perfectly protected ship. So the Chinese can probably overcome the US fleet cheaper than what it cost to build it. And they certainly don’t need two or three generations to achieve that.

    It just annoys me when someone just denies the possibility that the currently strongest power can easily lose its status.

    , @reiner Tor

    China can get the shipbuilding side of it done quite quickly if it chooses to owing to its enormous industrial capacity, but the Chinese have chosen not to do this.
     
    Because they don’t yet have the technology and doctrine in place. They could’ve built a dozen modernized replicas of the Kuznetsov by now. They chose to build just one similar carrier to develop technology and get some experience, while simultaneously building a third carrier (already with modern catapults), after which they will have the option of building many more if needed. I’d do the same thing if I were them. First develop the technology. Then after reaching technological parity with your main adversary, you can build many of them.
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  141. Dmitry says:

    Offtopic.

    The official Twitter account of the Karlin Blog on the right side of the page is showing a picture of the Ministry of Agriculture building in Kazan.

    The picture is taken from an amazing angle where it looks quite good.

    But then as readers of Varlamov blog, I remember it looks like this, with this fake tree inside it:

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    • Replies: @songbird
    Looks pretty good, IMO. The giant iron tree is a nice touch since it, evokes a long span of time - a past as well as a future. And in a kind of humble way that doesn't elevate old politicians to a cult of sainthood.
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  142. @songbird

    It doesn’t seem likely that under the conditions of war (especially if satellites were destroyed) it’d be easy to find a capital ship to target it.
     
    You don't need expensive satellites to see ships. Cubesats can see ships. They generally cost around $100,000 to build or so, and, if need be they can be launched from small rockets, or in scores from medium-sized ones. There are commercial services which are building cubesat networks with the goal of total practical real time coverage of the earth - in part to tract ships. Coverage is already quite wide. Besides which there are ultra-endurance drones which can stay aloft for days.

    Technology is upending the balance. IMO, there is really no hope for a carrier group to hide. In the sense of a war between real powers, they are white elephants. They are sort of like the battleships that helped beat up Saddam's army. More capable, of course, but they can only be used to beat up other Saddams or to deter pirates.

    Ships which don’t emit radio signals remain difficult to find.

    Satellites on the other hand are easy to find and destroy. Only polar orbit satellites are useful for this purpose as well, and as such they can be evaded to some extent.

    This is why China invests in more ISR systems than just satellites. They have some kind of big radar drone high altitude blimp program for instance.

    Best practice is really to simply track ships continuously. Have agents in ports report when ships leave, then shadow them. This is however expensive (need lots of assets) and provocative (especially if you’re shadowing a boomer).

    I do suspect that the carriers are white elephants none the less however, especially in light of the fact that no carriers afloat currently carry long-range interceptors. If I were constructing a navy from scratch I would omit large surface ships entirely.

    The “need” to bully Third World countries some people use to justify carriers can be accomplished for a lot less money with long-range land-based bombers.

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  143. Gerard2 says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Karlin’s arguments just like Reiner Tor’s were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice.
     
    I agree. The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel seem to horrify AK for some reason. When I said that Russia should consider economic sanctions on Israel (by ending pension payments for example), he opposed even that.


    Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can’t do politics if you want to be loved.
     
    I don't believe that is the case. Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it's just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.

    I don’t believe that is the case. Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it’s just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.

    Karlin is not a Russian nationalist, he’s not a Russian ethno-nationalist ( which is what I think you meant in the first instance)…….he can only be described as a Russian-hating liberast, smart enough to know that if he writes directly the retarded things common on Ekho,meduza,new times,Novaya Gazeta,Dozhd,Znak etcet……then he will only appeal to the 1% of losers who believe this nonsense…..instead he must promote their nonsense via nefarious ways (like linking exclusively to their articles on one of his blog posts)

    Put it this way…..the hilariously stupid lies about Red Army “mass rapes” in Berlin, is exactly the kind of bullshit he would agree occured as part of his russophobia…done under the guise of being staunchly anti-Communist. His russian ethno-nationalism is that weak he couldn’t even blame it on the central Asians or Kavkaz in the USSR because to do so would be disproven easily from the lack of any children with these kind of facial features born there…..so the Russian liberast take is what he would naturally fall back on.

    On the Israel issue, there’s no excuse for Georgia and Ukraine now having close ties to Israel….Russia must force /bargain over Syria/Iran with Israel and get them to recognise officially and invest in Abkhazia & South Ossetia….and to recognise Crimea as part of Russia….particularly as Israel is under no pressure to be part of the “international community” needing to “send a signal ” to Russia

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    Put it this way…..the hilariously stupid lies about Red Army “mass rapes” in Berlin, is exactly the kind of bullshit he would agree occured as part of his russophobia
     
    I don't think that's a lie.

    But in any case how is it Russophobic? Conquered women are fair game, and its not like the Germans conducted themselves well in the East. In fact probably the original point of war was women, as prior to agriculture what else was there to take?
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  144. Anonymous[126] • Disclaimer says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    As Felix Keverich said, it is indeed amateurishly written.

    In fact, the author is completely incompetent.

    Two examples:

    The Kinzhal’s warhead is estimated at between 500 and 700 kilograms, a formidable payload though still well below that of China’s DF-21D. What sets the Kinzhal apart, however, and makes it a truly lethal ship hunter, is its combination of precision, range, and hypersonic speed of impact of over Mach 5.
     

    The DF-21D is a ballistic missile and as such its warhead will impact targets at hypersonic speeds as well.

    The precision of either platform is not known to the author as such that's just completely made up.

    From this it can be inferred that the Kinzhal, a longer ranged and much faster platform with approximately double the Brahmos’ kinetic energy and more than double the payload, is highly likely to be able to destroy even the largest of enemy warships with a single strike — and does so at distances of up to 2,000 km.
     

    Here the author confuses velocity with kinetic energy.

    In other words this guy is a complete doofus, yet somehow he's not only published in The Diplomat (which, obviously, has morons for editors) but is the chief editor of Military Watch. Instead he should've watched the blackboard in high school physics class.

    The lethality of the DF-21D and the Kinzhal will come down to accuracy (especially against maneuvering targets) and ability to resist countermeasures. Neither can be known until they're actually employed in combat.

    And while I hate to give the losers in our pathetic navy any credit, they're not wrong when they point out that finding and targeting our ships is half the battle.

    The Diplomat will publish any coherent manuscript by anyone (Master’s students in IR and war studies) and maybe even pay them 20 cents a word for their troubles.

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  145. songbird says:
    @Dmitry
    Offtopic.

    The official Twitter account of the Karlin Blog on the right side of the page is showing a picture of the Ministry of Agriculture building in Kazan.

    The picture is taken from an amazing angle where it looks quite good.

    https://i.imgur.com/5sTfQyZ.jpg?1


    But then as readers of Varlamov blog, I remember it looks like this, with this fake tree inside it:

    https://varlamov.me/2015/kaxan_ploh/11.jpg

    Looks pretty good, IMO. The giant iron tree is a nice touch since it, evokes a long span of time – a past as well as a future. And in a kind of humble way that doesn’t elevate old politicians to a cult of sainthood.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Maybe my taste is too conservative or boring. I hate the fake tree and crazy mix of different architecture styles in this building (especially the fake French château behind it)*.

    Although I have never been to Kazan and seen it in real life, so maybe one would fall in love when visiting it. Sometimes you have to see a building in real life, before you admire it.

    Varlamov actually loved the Kazan architecture overall on his review:

    https://varlamov.ru/1328795.html

    But he put the agriculture ministry in his bad list

    http://varlamov.ru/1329591.html


    -
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS7g9VlvB7c
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  146. Mitleser says:

    It looks even better from this angle.
    Excellent building.

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  147. @Gerard2

    I don’t believe that is the case. Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it’s just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.
     
    Karlin is not a Russian nationalist, he's not a Russian ethno-nationalist ( which is what I think you meant in the first instance).......he can only be described as a Russian-hating liberast, smart enough to know that if he writes directly the retarded things common on Ekho,meduza,new times,Novaya Gazeta,Dozhd,Znak etcet......then he will only appeal to the 1% of losers who believe this nonsense.....instead he must promote their nonsense via nefarious ways (like linking exclusively to their articles on one of his blog posts)

    Put it this way.....the hilariously stupid lies about Red Army "mass rapes" in Berlin, is exactly the kind of bullshit he would agree occured as part of his russophobia...done under the guise of being staunchly anti-Communist. His russian ethno-nationalism is that weak he couldn't even blame it on the central Asians or Kavkaz in the USSR because to do so would be disproven easily from the lack of any children with these kind of facial features born there.....so the Russian liberast take is what he would naturally fall back on.

    On the Israel issue, there's no excuse for Georgia and Ukraine now having close ties to Israel....Russia must force /bargain over Syria/Iran with Israel and get them to recognise officially and invest in Abkhazia & South Ossetia....and to recognise Crimea as part of Russia....particularly as Israel is under no pressure to be part of the "international community" needing to "send a signal " to Russia

    Put it this way…..the hilariously stupid lies about Red Army “mass rapes” in Berlin, is exactly the kind of bullshit he would agree occured as part of his russophobia

    I don’t think that’s a lie.

    But in any case how is it Russophobic? Conquered women are fair game, and its not like the Germans conducted themselves well in the East. In fact probably the original point of war was women, as prior to agriculture what else was there to take?

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    In fact probably the original point of war was women, as prior to agriculture what else was there to take
     
    Access to profitable hunting grounds for example, surely a common reason for conflicts among hunter-gatherers.
    But yes, capturing women to increase one's reproductive success was surely an important reason for war as well. Azar Gat's book about war is pretty good about that cluster of evolution-shaped motivations at the root of warfare.
    , @Gerard2

    I don’t think that’s a lie.

    But in any case how is it Russophobic? Conquered women are fair game, and its not like the Germans conducted themselves well in the East. In fact probably the original point of war was women, as prior to agriculture what else was there to take?
     

    Lie in relation to the numbers claimed, obviously part of a disinformation campaign done by many sides against Russia to equate them with the Nazi rapists. It's not the traditional allegation like in the former Yugoslavia where Serbs,Bosnians,Croats are all accusing each other of raping eachothers women, then arguing over who started it...... it's not only German liars, but UK/US/France and the rest of the west propagating not only anti-Soviet nonsense to discredit the noble and glorious Red Army during the time of the Cold War....but anti-modern Russia...as part of on attempt to undermine Russia's past,present and future.

    the weight of this large number is done on the basis that the majority of the rapes were done on pre-adolescent girls..and pensioners or women past child bearing age.....i.e a direct of the Goebbels "8 to 80" lies against the "Mongoloid" Red Army Soldiers
    The 1-2 million BS is based on....an extrapolation of there being ONLY 1200 children born in the Soviet part of Berlin listed as having a Russian father...not on a weight of reliable eywitness accounts ( which are probably lies)

    1200 births, they claim there is a 20% chance of conception from a rape....and that 90% of rapes resulting in conception were aborted ( I suppose it's "merciful" they didn't make it all the way to 99.9999% of rapes that resulted in conception were aborted, otherwise the number claimed would be about a billion!).
    So from their own model they get to 60000 rapes on women of child bearing age....this then transform into 2 million because these cretins literally take the Goebbels "8 to 80" propaganda to get to this figure.

    I can't explain why, but I think there is something inevitable of rapes in rural areas from conquering armies....that shouldn't be inevitable at all in city areas


    Another difference is that the German's didn't mind about exterminating people in Eastern Europe, the Russians were very conscientious of that fact that they needed the Germans on side in order to to help them run the place and rebuild it. Leadership were very tough on this type of thing and executed over 100 soldiers

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  148. @Thorfinnsson
    Matching global American maritime power will likely take China decades, if nothing else owing to the time it will take to acquire a global network of air and naval bases. China can get the shipbuilding side of it done quite quickly if it chooses to owing to its enormous industrial capacity, but the Chinese have chosen not to do this.

    Defeating the US and its allies in the Western Pacific on the other hand China will be able to do by 2030, and perhaps sooner.

    That was already the case in the Second World War. The sea was always more porous than a land frontline, and for example at Midway finding the Japanese carriers was the most important part of the battle.

    I’m not sure how these missiles are even theoretically able to find their targets, though I think for the Kinzhal it might take just fifteen minutes, and maybe the distance covered during that time is not enough to get far enough. But how would they launch them in the first place? I mean, the MiG-31s needed some indication where the ship was in the first place…

    So maybe these missiles are totally pointless anyway. It doesn’t seem likely that under the conditions of war (especially if satellites were destroyed) it’d be easy to find a capital ship to target it. They might be best used on the first day of the war more effectively, though.
     

    The missiles certainly aren't pointless, as they're harder to intercept than preceding generations of missiles. And the increased kinetic energy is a nice touch, especially helpful if the warhead fails to detonate.

    We don't know how Aegis BMD and Standard Missiles will perform in combat, but they're allegedly formidable.

    See this Binkov's Battlegrounds video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcwDfaY4OW4

    The missiles are however not game changers for the simple reason that the previous generation of Russian missiles were already excellent, and there are plenty of other ways to sink ships other than hypersonic missiles.

    Carlton Meyer, a retired US Marine Corps officer and military dissident, has proposed turning wide-body airliners into maritime patrol bombers. A squadron of such aircraft could launch a salvo of one thousand antiship missiles at an enemy naval taskforce, for instance. Even a thousand V-1s from 1944 (with modern guidance packages) would probably get the job done here.

    Fantasizing about invincible antiship missiles vanquishing American carrier battlegroups is pointless without considering reconnaissance, launching platforms, doctrine, and training. I am sure even the good Admiral Martyanov would agree, though probably not the Faker.

    China incidentally has been investing very heavily in various reconnaissance assets in the Pacific, but to my knowledge Russia has not. The Soviet Navy did make such investments and even maintained an inventory of maritime surveillance satellites which could be launched into polar orbit at any time. Maybe some of those systems are still around?

    Matching global American maritime power will likely take China decades, if nothing else owing to the time it will take to acquire a global network of air and naval bases.

    The debate was about whether China could be bottled up the way the German fleet was bottled up at Kiel. My interlocutor said it needed at least a couple generations to be able to break out in case of a battle. I said it was possible (I’d never say it was impossible: how can I know?), but that I wouldn’t bet my house on it.

    We don’t know how Aegis BMD and Standard Missiles will perform in combat, but they’re allegedly formidable.

    I wrote that the Americans seem to think that they have sufficient protection against these toys. I tend to at least half believe them right now. (Probably one missile wouldn’t be enough per ship. How many missiles do the Russians have? How many can they launch simultaneously, when for example the Kinzhals need one MiG-31 each?) But my guess is that its probably cheaper to build more or better missiles than an ever more perfectly protected ship. So the Chinese can probably overcome the US fleet cheaper than what it cost to build it. And they certainly don’t need two or three generations to achieve that.

    It just annoys me when someone just denies the possibility that the currently strongest power can easily lose its status.

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  149. @Thorfinnsson


    Put it this way…..the hilariously stupid lies about Red Army “mass rapes” in Berlin, is exactly the kind of bullshit he would agree occured as part of his russophobia
     
    I don't think that's a lie.

    But in any case how is it Russophobic? Conquered women are fair game, and its not like the Germans conducted themselves well in the East. In fact probably the original point of war was women, as prior to agriculture what else was there to take?

    In fact probably the original point of war was women, as prior to agriculture what else was there to take

    Access to profitable hunting grounds for example, surely a common reason for conflicts among hunter-gatherers.
    But yes, capturing women to increase one’s reproductive success was surely an important reason for war as well. Azar Gat’s book about war is pretty good about that cluster of evolution-shaped motivations at the root of warfare.

    Read More
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  150. @Thorfinnsson
    Matching global American maritime power will likely take China decades, if nothing else owing to the time it will take to acquire a global network of air and naval bases. China can get the shipbuilding side of it done quite quickly if it chooses to owing to its enormous industrial capacity, but the Chinese have chosen not to do this.

    Defeating the US and its allies in the Western Pacific on the other hand China will be able to do by 2030, and perhaps sooner.

    That was already the case in the Second World War. The sea was always more porous than a land frontline, and for example at Midway finding the Japanese carriers was the most important part of the battle.

    I’m not sure how these missiles are even theoretically able to find their targets, though I think for the Kinzhal it might take just fifteen minutes, and maybe the distance covered during that time is not enough to get far enough. But how would they launch them in the first place? I mean, the MiG-31s needed some indication where the ship was in the first place…

    So maybe these missiles are totally pointless anyway. It doesn’t seem likely that under the conditions of war (especially if satellites were destroyed) it’d be easy to find a capital ship to target it. They might be best used on the first day of the war more effectively, though.
     

    The missiles certainly aren't pointless, as they're harder to intercept than preceding generations of missiles. And the increased kinetic energy is a nice touch, especially helpful if the warhead fails to detonate.

    We don't know how Aegis BMD and Standard Missiles will perform in combat, but they're allegedly formidable.

    See this Binkov's Battlegrounds video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcwDfaY4OW4

    The missiles are however not game changers for the simple reason that the previous generation of Russian missiles were already excellent, and there are plenty of other ways to sink ships other than hypersonic missiles.

    Carlton Meyer, a retired US Marine Corps officer and military dissident, has proposed turning wide-body airliners into maritime patrol bombers. A squadron of such aircraft could launch a salvo of one thousand antiship missiles at an enemy naval taskforce, for instance. Even a thousand V-1s from 1944 (with modern guidance packages) would probably get the job done here.

    Fantasizing about invincible antiship missiles vanquishing American carrier battlegroups is pointless without considering reconnaissance, launching platforms, doctrine, and training. I am sure even the good Admiral Martyanov would agree, though probably not the Faker.

    China incidentally has been investing very heavily in various reconnaissance assets in the Pacific, but to my knowledge Russia has not. The Soviet Navy did make such investments and even maintained an inventory of maritime surveillance satellites which could be launched into polar orbit at any time. Maybe some of those systems are still around?

    China can get the shipbuilding side of it done quite quickly if it chooses to owing to its enormous industrial capacity, but the Chinese have chosen not to do this.

    Because they don’t yet have the technology and doctrine in place. They could’ve built a dozen modernized replicas of the Kuznetsov by now. They chose to build just one similar carrier to develop technology and get some experience, while simultaneously building a third carrier (already with modern catapults), after which they will have the option of building many more if needed. I’d do the same thing if I were them. First develop the technology. Then after reaching technological parity with your main adversary, you can build many of them.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    China is also obsessed with avoiding over-militarization, which the CCP believes contributed to the collapse of the USSR.

    And yes, China is going down a similar path with its carriers to what the USA, UK, and Japan did in the interwar period as they built many experimental carriers and experimented with doctrine. This reached "maturity" (or perhaps ossification) with the Forrestal-class.

    The last suggestions to change how we build and operate carriers were made in the 70s. Elmo Zumwalt proposed complimenting the supercarriers with light carriers to increase hull numbers and improve North Atlantic ASW, and some other admiral (do not recall his name) proposed increasing the size of supercarriers to half a million tons in order to increase survivability, sortie generation, aircraft numbers, fuel and ammunition magazines, etc.

    Britain's carrier doctrine since the scrapping of the HMS Ark Royal has basically been driven by budgetary concerns rather than strategy, though the "commando carriers" pressed into service to liberate the Falklands did evolve out of commerce protection doctrine initially (based on successful WW2 use of escort carriers against the U-Boatwaffe and the Focke Wulfe Condor).

    Similarly its new carriers are crippled by budgetary concerns as well. They were originally intended to have catapults, but those were abandoned to save money. This limits the maximum takeoff weight and thus useful load of fuel and munitions its air wing can carry.

    Soviet carrier doctrine allegedly was that its "missile-carrying heavy aviation cruisers" were to use their air wing to protect surface action groups from aerial threats, but the creation of Project Orel suggests this was just a budgetary scam to the camel's nose into the tent.

    China also cleverly paid Brazil to get experience with operating carriers, since Brazil operates a decrepit old French carrier for some baffling reason.

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  151. Dmitry says:
    @songbird
    Looks pretty good, IMO. The giant iron tree is a nice touch since it, evokes a long span of time - a past as well as a future. And in a kind of humble way that doesn't elevate old politicians to a cult of sainthood.

    Maybe my taste is too conservative or boring. I hate the fake tree and crazy mix of different architecture styles in this building (especially the fake French château behind it)*.

    Although I have never been to Kazan and seen it in real life, so maybe one would fall in love when visiting it. Sometimes you have to see a building in real life, before you admire it.

    Varlamov actually loved the Kazan architecture overall on his review:

    https://varlamov.ru/1328795.html

    But he put the agriculture ministry in his bad list

    http://varlamov.ru/1329591.html

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    • Replies: @songbird
    It may help that I have known some really incredibly ugly government buildings in my life.

    The most famous of these perhaps being Boston City Hall.
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  152. @reiner Tor

    China can get the shipbuilding side of it done quite quickly if it chooses to owing to its enormous industrial capacity, but the Chinese have chosen not to do this.
     
    Because they don’t yet have the technology and doctrine in place. They could’ve built a dozen modernized replicas of the Kuznetsov by now. They chose to build just one similar carrier to develop technology and get some experience, while simultaneously building a third carrier (already with modern catapults), after which they will have the option of building many more if needed. I’d do the same thing if I were them. First develop the technology. Then after reaching technological parity with your main adversary, you can build many of them.

    China is also obsessed with avoiding over-militarization, which the CCP believes contributed to the collapse of the USSR.

    And yes, China is going down a similar path with its carriers to what the USA, UK, and Japan did in the interwar period as they built many experimental carriers and experimented with doctrine. This reached “maturity” (or perhaps ossification) with the Forrestal-class.

    The last suggestions to change how we build and operate carriers were made in the 70s. Elmo Zumwalt proposed complimenting the supercarriers with light carriers to increase hull numbers and improve North Atlantic ASW, and some other admiral (do not recall his name) proposed increasing the size of supercarriers to half a million tons in order to increase survivability, sortie generation, aircraft numbers, fuel and ammunition magazines, etc.

    Britain’s carrier doctrine since the scrapping of the HMS Ark Royal has basically been driven by budgetary concerns rather than strategy, though the “commando carriers” pressed into service to liberate the Falklands did evolve out of commerce protection doctrine initially (based on successful WW2 use of escort carriers against the U-Boatwaffe and the Focke Wulfe Condor).

    Similarly its new carriers are crippled by budgetary concerns as well. They were originally intended to have catapults, but those were abandoned to save money. This limits the maximum takeoff weight and thus useful load of fuel and munitions its air wing can carry.

    Soviet carrier doctrine allegedly was that its “missile-carrying heavy aviation cruisers” were to use their air wing to protect surface action groups from aerial threats, but the creation of Project Orel suggests this was just a budgetary scam to the camel’s nose into the tent.

    China also cleverly paid Brazil to get experience with operating carriers, since Brazil operates a decrepit old French carrier for some baffling reason.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    China is also obsessed with avoiding over-militarization, which the CCP believes contributed to the collapse of the USSR.
     
    However, their military spending is currently proportionately less than that of the USA, so they could probably increase it without becoming nearly as militaristic as the USSR. But probably they don’t want to unduly alarm the US elites; for them, complacency is better. Probably they first wanted to become economically stronger before building up their military. Anyway, due to the still fast economic growth, even with proportionately flat military spending looks like a quick militarization, so I guess they think it’s better to avoid it.
    , @Mitleser

    Soviet carrier doctrine allegedly was that its “missile-carrying heavy aviation cruisers” were to use their air wing to protect surface action groups from aerial threats, but the creation of Project Orel suggests this was just a budgetary scam to the camel’s nose into the tent.
     
    They were just doing what the PRC did later, first a bunch of smaller carriers, then supercarriers.
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  153. @Thorfinnsson
    China is also obsessed with avoiding over-militarization, which the CCP believes contributed to the collapse of the USSR.

    And yes, China is going down a similar path with its carriers to what the USA, UK, and Japan did in the interwar period as they built many experimental carriers and experimented with doctrine. This reached "maturity" (or perhaps ossification) with the Forrestal-class.

    The last suggestions to change how we build and operate carriers were made in the 70s. Elmo Zumwalt proposed complimenting the supercarriers with light carriers to increase hull numbers and improve North Atlantic ASW, and some other admiral (do not recall his name) proposed increasing the size of supercarriers to half a million tons in order to increase survivability, sortie generation, aircraft numbers, fuel and ammunition magazines, etc.

    Britain's carrier doctrine since the scrapping of the HMS Ark Royal has basically been driven by budgetary concerns rather than strategy, though the "commando carriers" pressed into service to liberate the Falklands did evolve out of commerce protection doctrine initially (based on successful WW2 use of escort carriers against the U-Boatwaffe and the Focke Wulfe Condor).

    Similarly its new carriers are crippled by budgetary concerns as well. They were originally intended to have catapults, but those were abandoned to save money. This limits the maximum takeoff weight and thus useful load of fuel and munitions its air wing can carry.

    Soviet carrier doctrine allegedly was that its "missile-carrying heavy aviation cruisers" were to use their air wing to protect surface action groups from aerial threats, but the creation of Project Orel suggests this was just a budgetary scam to the camel's nose into the tent.

    China also cleverly paid Brazil to get experience with operating carriers, since Brazil operates a decrepit old French carrier for some baffling reason.

    China is also obsessed with avoiding over-militarization, which the CCP believes contributed to the collapse of the USSR.

    However, their military spending is currently proportionately less than that of the USA, so they could probably increase it without becoming nearly as militaristic as the USSR. But probably they don’t want to unduly alarm the US elites; for them, complacency is better. Probably they first wanted to become economically stronger before building up their military. Anyway, due to the still fast economic growth, even with proportionately flat military spending looks like a quick militarization, so I guess they think it’s better to avoid it.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    I don't even agree with over-militarization causing Soviet collapse or even being a major contributor to Soviet economic backwardness.

    A strong military bolsters the health of the state after all, unless the military is not obedient to the state (which it is in Communist countries, and by careful design).

    Seymour Melman made an interesting case against the war economy, but I no longer buy it. The fraction of the population with sufficient human capital qualified to be engineers, scientists, technicians, machinists, etc. exceeds the civilian manufacturing sector's demand for such labor. I could be an engineer or a scientist for instance, but I'm not. So a large war economy just shifts people out of other professions and thus don't cause civilian manufacturing and technology to suffer.

    Beyond that there is the very well-known role war plays in driving bleeding-edge technology the private sector generally won't invest in, other than during the postwar era in Corporate America where it was fashionable for big business to invest in basic science for no real reason.

    The war economy requires resources from the civilian sector, but it appears Western Europe (in particular the Nordic area) that high taxes (and the USSR was a command economy anyway) are not incompatible with prosperity and progress.

    It's noteworthy that the USSR's Warsaw Pact satellite states did not have vast war economies, yet were also economically decrepit. That Czechoslovakia and East Germany produced more advanced products than the USSR in many cases is obviously not down to differences in defense spending.

    During the Cold War the USA always spent far more on defense than our "allies", but we remained at the top of prosperity throughout it. Loss of marketshare in various other industries seem to be down to other factors. A big part of it was in fact America taking COCOM very seriously, but our "allies" mainly honoring it in the breach--or not at all.
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  154. songbird says:
    @Dmitry
    Maybe my taste is too conservative or boring. I hate the fake tree and crazy mix of different architecture styles in this building (especially the fake French château behind it)*.

    Although I have never been to Kazan and seen it in real life, so maybe one would fall in love when visiting it. Sometimes you have to see a building in real life, before you admire it.

    Varlamov actually loved the Kazan architecture overall on his review:

    https://varlamov.ru/1328795.html

    But he put the agriculture ministry in his bad list

    http://varlamov.ru/1329591.html


    -
    -
    *

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS7g9VlvB7c

    It may help that I have known some really incredibly ugly government buildings in my life.

    The most famous of these perhaps being Boston City Hall.

    Read More
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  155. @reiner Tor

    China is also obsessed with avoiding over-militarization, which the CCP believes contributed to the collapse of the USSR.
     
    However, their military spending is currently proportionately less than that of the USA, so they could probably increase it without becoming nearly as militaristic as the USSR. But probably they don’t want to unduly alarm the US elites; for them, complacency is better. Probably they first wanted to become economically stronger before building up their military. Anyway, due to the still fast economic growth, even with proportionately flat military spending looks like a quick militarization, so I guess they think it’s better to avoid it.

    I don’t even agree with over-militarization causing Soviet collapse or even being a major contributor to Soviet economic backwardness.

    A strong military bolsters the health of the state after all, unless the military is not obedient to the state (which it is in Communist countries, and by careful design).

    Seymour Melman made an interesting case against the war economy, but I no longer buy it. The fraction of the population with sufficient human capital qualified to be engineers, scientists, technicians, machinists, etc. exceeds the civilian manufacturing sector’s demand for such labor. I could be an engineer or a scientist for instance, but I’m not. So a large war economy just shifts people out of other professions and thus don’t cause civilian manufacturing and technology to suffer.

    Beyond that there is the very well-known role war plays in driving bleeding-edge technology the private sector generally won’t invest in, other than during the postwar era in Corporate America where it was fashionable for big business to invest in basic science for no real reason.

    The war economy requires resources from the civilian sector, but it appears Western Europe (in particular the Nordic area) that high taxes (and the USSR was a command economy anyway) are not incompatible with prosperity and progress.

    It’s noteworthy that the USSR’s Warsaw Pact satellite states did not have vast war economies, yet were also economically decrepit. That Czechoslovakia and East Germany produced more advanced products than the USSR in many cases is obviously not down to differences in defense spending.

    During the Cold War the USA always spent far more on defense than our “allies”, but we remained at the top of prosperity throughout it. Loss of marketshare in various other industries seem to be down to other factors. A big part of it was in fact America taking COCOM very seriously, but our “allies” mainly honoring it in the breach–or not at all.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    the USSR’s Warsaw Pact satellite states did not have vast war economies
     
    I believe they still spent way more on defense than most Western countries, at least before 1953 (and I think before 1956) Hungary spent enormous amounts on defense, something like a quarter of the budget. (GDP numbers weren't calculated, but I think it would be around 10% of GDP or more.) The armed forces were destroyed after 1956 (it wasn't used much during the revolution, only a few units participated in the defense against the Soviets, most of the units didn't receive any kinds of orders so they just stayed put in their barracks; the Soviets removed all Hungarian military equipment from the country), and defense spending was notably lower after 1956. The reorganized armed forces were also much smaller (around 65 thousand in the late 1950s, versus nearly 200 thousand before 1956), but were growing (I think it was again well over 150 thousand by the 1970s). It wasn't a very effective fighting force, but even after multiple budget cuts etc. it was still well over 100 thousand (plus of course enormous reserves) in the late 1980s. The Soviets didn't mind the very low level of training because they feared another revolution and thought it was better if only Soviet armed forces were good enough, so they didn't care for the inefficiencies in the Hungarian armed forces. Hungary I think spent much less than other Warsaw Pact countries. It must be noted that our economy was in better shape until the late 1980s than other Eastern Bloc countries, so probably less military spending didn't hurt us. (The big problem was external debt denominated mostly in USD, which was the result of some seemingly small mismanagement in the 1970s, and then the enormous mistake of paying interests out of new bank loans. The country could easily have paid back the debt in the 1970s but by the 1980s it grew so large that it was politically no longer possible, because it would've led to enormous drops in the living standards.)

    After 1990 we started spending much less on defense, as a result of which our armed forces are now in extremely bad shape, and so now we basically have to rebuild our armed forces almost from scratch. (At least that's Orbán's plan, we'll see if he'll manage to do anything about it.) As far as I know our armed forces are in the worst shape out of all neighboring countries, for example Slovakia has a similar sized (slightly smaller) and much better equipped force, even though Slovakia only has roughly half the population size or territory, and its territory is much easier to defend because it's mountainous. (This is one piece of evidence among many that Slovakia has been much better governed since 1990 than Hungary.) Even the Romanian armed forces are in much better shape, while being much larger (even proportionally, taking into account the much larger size of Romania's population and territory). This is a result of even Romania being better governed than Hungary since 1990.

    I think high military spending is harmful above maybe 5% of GDP or so, and it's also harmful if you just spend it to import stuff (like Hungary did mostly during communism). So Saudi Arabia's economy doesn't benefit from military spending at all, it's just wasted money. If it's below 5% of GDP, it might actually help. For example Airbus needs to receive (illegal under the WTO) subsidies from the EU governments, while Boeing needs no such subsidies. Of course, it can develop dual use technologies for its defense contracts and then use it to in civilian development, or cross-finance civilian project from defense contracts - after all, money is fungible. So defense spending helps keeping US civilian airliner production afloat. Probably there are many similar benefits. Defense spending is also not under EU or WTO regulations, so it just needs smart and patriotic politicians. (This automatically disqualifies all leftist Hungarian politicians, as well as our first conservative government 1990-94.)
    , @Anonymous
    Interesting argument to consider in general terms.

    But since China is only at

    (1) a middle income level of about $9,000 per capita and
    (2) the budget that would otherwise be going to military spending is spent on transportation infrastructure (almost 2% of GDP in China goes to high speed rail, subways, conventional rail, and expressways), then I think at this juncture in China's development relatively low military spending is 100% a good idea.

    In fact it should probably be even lower like only 1 to 1.5% of GDP rather than 2% of GDP. A country like China where there are still several hundred counties with child malnutrition should be subsidizing infant formula for 1 year olds to prevent IQ degradation rather than joining the big boys club with aircraft carrier construction.
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  156. @Dmitry

    I agree. The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel seem to horrify AK for some reason. When I said that Russia should consider economic sanctions on Israel (by ending pension payments for example), he opposed even that.

     

    Most people know military involvement with unrelated armies thousands of kilometers away is dumb, as it even with Turkey (well Turkey is a NATO member).

    The economic measures are easier, without risks and dangers, and can be more effective - the main one was used already with Turkey, in relation to stopping tourist flow there after shoot down of a Su-24 in November 2014. Tourist flow to Turkey fell 92% and the Turkish economy lost billions of dollars.

    But there would be a logical sequence of events if/when the Kremlin was unhappy with Israel airstrikes.

    The first thing would be (as was attempted after the US/France/UK airstrikes), to issue a condemnation in the UN Security Council. If after this is blocked, there would be looking into economic measures.

    But no condemnation has not been issued of these airstrikes in the UN Security Council so far. There has been no indication on the diplomatic level yet that Putin is unhappy with them, just an indication on a media level are embarrassed certain aspects like the Pantsir Twitter video.

    If there is unhappiness, the first thing will be seen is a condemnation submitted in the UN forum, as there was after the US/France/UK airstrikes in April.

    But no condemnation has not been issued of these airstrikes in the UN Security Council so far. There has been no indication on the diplomatic level yet that Putin is unhappy with them, just an indication on a media level are embarrassed certain aspects like the Pantsir Twitter video.

    Why would Russia be unhappy that the Iranian presence in Syria is being cut down to size? Iran and Russia are allied with Syria, not with each other. As a neighboring country from which Russia has hacked off big hunks, Iran is certainly no friend of Russia.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    a neighboring country from which Russia has hacked off big hunks
     
    None of those hunks belong to Russia now. Iran also probably doesn't want to reacquire those territories, because it already barely has a Persian majority, and the areas' inhabitants are not very religious, and are often Sunni anyway, so the Islamic Republic would have a hard time keeping those populations content.

    I fail to see how this would be relevant to relations between Iran and Russia today.
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  157. @Thorfinnsson
    I don't even agree with over-militarization causing Soviet collapse or even being a major contributor to Soviet economic backwardness.

    A strong military bolsters the health of the state after all, unless the military is not obedient to the state (which it is in Communist countries, and by careful design).

    Seymour Melman made an interesting case against the war economy, but I no longer buy it. The fraction of the population with sufficient human capital qualified to be engineers, scientists, technicians, machinists, etc. exceeds the civilian manufacturing sector's demand for such labor. I could be an engineer or a scientist for instance, but I'm not. So a large war economy just shifts people out of other professions and thus don't cause civilian manufacturing and technology to suffer.

    Beyond that there is the very well-known role war plays in driving bleeding-edge technology the private sector generally won't invest in, other than during the postwar era in Corporate America where it was fashionable for big business to invest in basic science for no real reason.

    The war economy requires resources from the civilian sector, but it appears Western Europe (in particular the Nordic area) that high taxes (and the USSR was a command economy anyway) are not incompatible with prosperity and progress.

    It's noteworthy that the USSR's Warsaw Pact satellite states did not have vast war economies, yet were also economically decrepit. That Czechoslovakia and East Germany produced more advanced products than the USSR in many cases is obviously not down to differences in defense spending.

    During the Cold War the USA always spent far more on defense than our "allies", but we remained at the top of prosperity throughout it. Loss of marketshare in various other industries seem to be down to other factors. A big part of it was in fact America taking COCOM very seriously, but our "allies" mainly honoring it in the breach--or not at all.

    the USSR’s Warsaw Pact satellite states did not have vast war economies

    I believe they still spent way more on defense than most Western countries, at least before 1953 (and I think before 1956) Hungary spent enormous amounts on defense, something like a quarter of the budget. (GDP numbers weren’t calculated, but I think it would be around 10% of GDP or more.) The armed forces were destroyed after 1956 (it wasn’t used much during the revolution, only a few units participated in the defense against the Soviets, most of the units didn’t receive any kinds of orders so they just stayed put in their barracks; the Soviets removed all Hungarian military equipment from the country), and defense spending was notably lower after 1956. The reorganized armed forces were also much smaller (around 65 thousand in the late 1950s, versus nearly 200 thousand before 1956), but were growing (I think it was again well over 150 thousand by the 1970s). It wasn’t a very effective fighting force, but even after multiple budget cuts etc. it was still well over 100 thousand (plus of course enormous reserves) in the late 1980s. The Soviets didn’t mind the very low level of training because they feared another revolution and thought it was better if only Soviet armed forces were good enough, so they didn’t care for the inefficiencies in the Hungarian armed forces. Hungary I think spent much less than other Warsaw Pact countries. It must be noted that our economy was in better shape until the late 1980s than other Eastern Bloc countries, so probably less military spending didn’t hurt us. (The big problem was external debt denominated mostly in USD, which was the result of some seemingly small mismanagement in the 1970s, and then the enormous mistake of paying interests out of new bank loans. The country could easily have paid back the debt in the 1970s but by the 1980s it grew so large that it was politically no longer possible, because it would’ve led to enormous drops in the living standards.)

    After 1990 we started spending much less on defense, as a result of which our armed forces are now in extremely bad shape, and so now we basically have to rebuild our armed forces almost from scratch. (At least that’s Orbán’s plan, we’ll see if he’ll manage to do anything about it.) As far as I know our armed forces are in the worst shape out of all neighboring countries, for example Slovakia has a similar sized (slightly smaller) and much better equipped force, even though Slovakia only has roughly half the population size or territory, and its territory is much easier to defend because it’s mountainous. (This is one piece of evidence among many that Slovakia has been much better governed since 1990 than Hungary.) Even the Romanian armed forces are in much better shape, while being much larger (even proportionally, taking into account the much larger size of Romania’s population and territory). This is a result of even Romania being better governed than Hungary since 1990.

    I think high military spending is harmful above maybe 5% of GDP or so, and it’s also harmful if you just spend it to import stuff (like Hungary did mostly during communism). So Saudi Arabia’s economy doesn’t benefit from military spending at all, it’s just wasted money. If it’s below 5% of GDP, it might actually help. For example Airbus needs to receive (illegal under the WTO) subsidies from the EU governments, while Boeing needs no such subsidies. Of course, it can develop dual use technologies for its defense contracts and then use it to in civilian development, or cross-finance civilian project from defense contracts – after all, money is fungible. So defense spending helps keeping US civilian airliner production afloat. Probably there are many similar benefits. Defense spending is also not under EU or WTO regulations, so it just needs smart and patriotic politicians. (This automatically disqualifies all leftist Hungarian politicians, as well as our first conservative government 1990-94.)

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    The USA spent 10% of GDP on defense throughout the 1950s, a period fondly remembered by Americans for its widespread prosperity and healthy families. People who complain about the war machine today have no idea how vast it was during the first half of the Cold War. During the 50s American factories were cranking out 2,000 combat aircraft each year and the navy had a thousand major ships.

    It's a different matter of course when one has to import equipment. After Britain cancelled the TSR 2 (for budgetary reasons), it was intended to replace it with the American F-111. But then this too was cancelled as Britain concluded it could not afford the negative impact on its balance of trade.

    America of course largely does not import foreign weapons at all. The fantastic English Electric Canberra was adopted by the US Air Force, but Americanized and constructed domestically by the Glenn L. Martin company (now part of Lockheed Martin). Later something similar was done with the absolutely awful Harrier.

    A shamed about your armed forces, but all too typical in Europe. Sweden for instance effectively eliminated its army after 1990. Speaking with the older generation people in the 90s genuinely thought that we had attained some kind of nirvana and therefore it was no longer necessary to maintain a powerful military establishment. America never demilitarized, but there was for many years the absurd idea that future wars would just be colonial wars.

    I think high military spending is harmful above maybe 5% of GDP or so
     

    "I think"

    This is the sort of thing that needs to be quantified.

    Showa Japan spent over 20% of GDP on "defense". From the start of the Great Depression up through Pearl Harbor Japanese industrial production quintupled. Electricity generation increased more than any other country during this time other than the Soviet Union.

    So Saudi Arabia’s economy doesn’t benefit from military spending at all, it’s just wasted money.
     

    In Saudi Arabia's case this is definitely true, as the money spent on imports could invest be invested. Abu Dhabi and Norway for instance have large sovereign wealth funds which will serve them well when their oil reserves are exhausted.

    If it’s below 5% of GDP, it might actually help. For example Airbus needs to receive (illegal under the WTO) subsidies from the EU governments, while Boeing needs no such subsidies. Of course, it can develop dual use technologies for its defense contracts and then use it to in civilian development, or cross-finance civilian project from defense contracts – after all, money is fungible. So defense spending helps keeping US civilian airliner production afloat. Probably there are many similar benefits. Defense spending is also not under EU or WTO regulations, so it just needs smart and patriotic politicians. (This automatically disqualifies all leftist Hungarian politicians, as well as our first conservative government 1990-94.)
     
    I've always though that the civilian economy should be treated more like defense in some respects. Rather than permitting any dubious foreigner to export his goods here, the government (in cooperation with domestic business and labor interest) should negotiate with foreign firms/governments when a certain product or technology appears elsewhere. The object of the negotiation should be to produce said product domestically with the maximum amount of technology transfer that can be obtained.

    Likewise just as we strive to prevent advanced defense technology from falling into the hands of foreigners, the same should apply to civilian technology. In fact we did attempt to limit the transfer of advanced technology to the USSR, but even then it was under the rubric of defense. COCOM only restricted "dual-use" technology. The fact is the goal is for foreigners to have no technology of any kind (obviously impossible, but no need to help them along) as all technology increases power and wealth.

    Basically a revival of mercantilism, with a specific focus on technology. And no obsessive focus on hoarding bullion.

    Wilbur Ross appears to understand this, but unfortunately he's 80.

    Before some liberast dweeb suggests this will reduce global economic growth and thus harm all of us, that's irrelevant. The point isn't to be richer. It's to be richer than other people. And you absolutely do want to harm foreigners (or rather, prevent them from attaining success to the extent it is possible unless they are very close allies with mutual interests).

    , @songbird
    East Germany spent a massive amount maintaining its security apparatus and border.
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  158. @Johann Ricke

    But no condemnation has not been issued of these airstrikes in the UN Security Council so far. There has been no indication on the diplomatic level yet that Putin is unhappy with them, just an indication on a media level are embarrassed certain aspects like the Pantsir Twitter video.
     
    Why would Russia be unhappy that the Iranian presence in Syria is being cut down to size? Iran and Russia are allied with Syria, not with each other. As a neighboring country from which Russia has hacked off big hunks, Iran is certainly no friend of Russia.

    a neighboring country from which Russia has hacked off big hunks

    None of those hunks belong to Russia now. Iran also probably doesn’t want to reacquire those territories, because it already barely has a Persian majority, and the areas’ inhabitants are not very religious, and are often Sunni anyway, so the Islamic Republic would have a hard time keeping those populations content.

    I fail to see how this would be relevant to relations between Iran and Russia today.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser

    None of those hunks belong to Russia now
     
    Not quite.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b0/Gulistan-Treaty.jpg/1280px-Gulistan-Treaty.jpg
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  159. Anonymous[405] • Disclaimer says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    I don't even agree with over-militarization causing Soviet collapse or even being a major contributor to Soviet economic backwardness.

    A strong military bolsters the health of the state after all, unless the military is not obedient to the state (which it is in Communist countries, and by careful design).

    Seymour Melman made an interesting case against the war economy, but I no longer buy it. The fraction of the population with sufficient human capital qualified to be engineers, scientists, technicians, machinists, etc. exceeds the civilian manufacturing sector's demand for such labor. I could be an engineer or a scientist for instance, but I'm not. So a large war economy just shifts people out of other professions and thus don't cause civilian manufacturing and technology to suffer.

    Beyond that there is the very well-known role war plays in driving bleeding-edge technology the private sector generally won't invest in, other than during the postwar era in Corporate America where it was fashionable for big business to invest in basic science for no real reason.

    The war economy requires resources from the civilian sector, but it appears Western Europe (in particular the Nordic area) that high taxes (and the USSR was a command economy anyway) are not incompatible with prosperity and progress.

    It's noteworthy that the USSR's Warsaw Pact satellite states did not have vast war economies, yet were also economically decrepit. That Czechoslovakia and East Germany produced more advanced products than the USSR in many cases is obviously not down to differences in defense spending.

    During the Cold War the USA always spent far more on defense than our "allies", but we remained at the top of prosperity throughout it. Loss of marketshare in various other industries seem to be down to other factors. A big part of it was in fact America taking COCOM very seriously, but our "allies" mainly honoring it in the breach--or not at all.

    Interesting argument to consider in general terms.

    But since China is only at

    (1) a middle income level of about $9,000 per capita and
    (2) the budget that would otherwise be going to military spending is spent on transportation infrastructure (almost 2% of GDP in China goes to high speed rail, subways, conventional rail, and expressways), then I think at this juncture in China’s development relatively low military spending is 100% a good idea.

    In fact it should probably be even lower like only 1 to 1.5% of GDP rather than 2% of GDP. A country like China where there are still several hundred counties with child malnutrition should be subsidizing infant formula for 1 year olds to prevent IQ degradation rather than joining the big boys club with aircraft carrier construction.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Good point about China being middle income. Its tax system is not all that well-developed, nor are its capital markets. The USSR however was a command economy.

    I agree that China's defense spending should be lower, or rather less provocative. For instance it could spend the same amount but skip aircraft carriers for now, which are obviously noticed and commented on in Tokyo and Washington. Instead it could, say, buy more S-400 systems. There's also a lot of stuff very important in war but is boring and unsexy and tends to be neglected in peacetime. Just about anything to do with logistics for instance. You can spend on that and get a much better military, but it goes unnoticed elsewhere. Munitions warstocks also go largely unnoticed, and are almost always too low.

    Of course you need some sexy stuff for deterrence, but the S-400 counts there. Meanwhile the obvious purpose of an aircraft carrier is to sail it far away from home waters in order to bomb the shit out of something.

    But I assume that domestic politics is partly driving China's carrier program. Leading China probably requires being seen as tough. Building carriers makes you seem tough, so then the CCP won't think it needs to remove a "weak" leader.

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  160. Mitleser says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    China is also obsessed with avoiding over-militarization, which the CCP believes contributed to the collapse of the USSR.

    And yes, China is going down a similar path with its carriers to what the USA, UK, and Japan did in the interwar period as they built many experimental carriers and experimented with doctrine. This reached "maturity" (or perhaps ossification) with the Forrestal-class.

    The last suggestions to change how we build and operate carriers were made in the 70s. Elmo Zumwalt proposed complimenting the supercarriers with light carriers to increase hull numbers and improve North Atlantic ASW, and some other admiral (do not recall his name) proposed increasing the size of supercarriers to half a million tons in order to increase survivability, sortie generation, aircraft numbers, fuel and ammunition magazines, etc.

    Britain's carrier doctrine since the scrapping of the HMS Ark Royal has basically been driven by budgetary concerns rather than strategy, though the "commando carriers" pressed into service to liberate the Falklands did evolve out of commerce protection doctrine initially (based on successful WW2 use of escort carriers against the U-Boatwaffe and the Focke Wulfe Condor).

    Similarly its new carriers are crippled by budgetary concerns as well. They were originally intended to have catapults, but those were abandoned to save money. This limits the maximum takeoff weight and thus useful load of fuel and munitions its air wing can carry.

    Soviet carrier doctrine allegedly was that its "missile-carrying heavy aviation cruisers" were to use their air wing to protect surface action groups from aerial threats, but the creation of Project Orel suggests this was just a budgetary scam to the camel's nose into the tent.

    China also cleverly paid Brazil to get experience with operating carriers, since Brazil operates a decrepit old French carrier for some baffling reason.

    Soviet carrier doctrine allegedly was that its “missile-carrying heavy aviation cruisers” were to use their air wing to protect surface action groups from aerial threats, but the creation of Project Orel suggests this was just a budgetary scam to the camel’s nose into the tent.

    They were just doing what the PRC did later, first a bunch of smaller carriers, then supercarriers.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Another point was that I think their bigger carriers were built in Ukraine, so they needed to get them through the Bosporus. It wouldn't have been legally possible (or maybe would've been at the discretion of the Turkish government?) if it were a normal carrier.

    They also didn't have very good airplanes for the task, as far as I know. So probably it was a better idea not to build a supercarrier until such issues would be solved. They disintegrated before they could solve them.
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  161. @Mitleser

    Soviet carrier doctrine allegedly was that its “missile-carrying heavy aviation cruisers” were to use their air wing to protect surface action groups from aerial threats, but the creation of Project Orel suggests this was just a budgetary scam to the camel’s nose into the tent.
     
    They were just doing what the PRC did later, first a bunch of smaller carriers, then supercarriers.

    Another point was that I think their bigger carriers were built in Ukraine, so they needed to get them through the Bosporus. It wouldn’t have been legally possible (or maybe would’ve been at the discretion of the Turkish government?) if it were a normal carrier.

    They also didn’t have very good airplanes for the task, as far as I know. So probably it was a better idea not to build a supercarrier until such issues would be solved. They disintegrated before they could solve them.

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  162. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor

    a neighboring country from which Russia has hacked off big hunks
     
    None of those hunks belong to Russia now. Iran also probably doesn't want to reacquire those territories, because it already barely has a Persian majority, and the areas' inhabitants are not very religious, and are often Sunni anyway, so the Islamic Republic would have a hard time keeping those populations content.

    I fail to see how this would be relevant to relations between Iran and Russia today.

    None of those hunks belong to Russia now

    Not quite.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Okay, so a small hunk still belongs to Russia. But it’d be impossible to acquire it without taking over Azerbaijan. Which is not in the cards anyway.
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  163. @Mitleser

    None of those hunks belong to Russia now
     
    Not quite.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b0/Gulistan-Treaty.jpg/1280px-Gulistan-Treaty.jpg

    Okay, so a small hunk still belongs to Russia. But it’d be impossible to acquire it without taking over Azerbaijan. Which is not in the cards anyway.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    I did not say that it matters to modern Iranians.
    Just that Russia does keep some formerly Iranian clay which includes the oldest known city on Russian territory.

    http://s003.radikal.ru/i204/1405/d0/60383a80ae82.jpg
    http://cs627523.vk.me/v627523273/16ce5/Qsqrbtz3Jq8.jpg
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  164. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor
    Okay, so a small hunk still belongs to Russia. But it’d be impossible to acquire it without taking over Azerbaijan. Which is not in the cards anyway.

    I did not say that it matters to modern Iranians.
    Just that Russia does keep some formerly Iranian clay which includes the oldest known city on Russian territory.

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  165. Gerard2 says:
    @Thorfinnsson


    Put it this way…..the hilariously stupid lies about Red Army “mass rapes” in Berlin, is exactly the kind of bullshit he would agree occured as part of his russophobia
     
    I don't think that's a lie.

    But in any case how is it Russophobic? Conquered women are fair game, and its not like the Germans conducted themselves well in the East. In fact probably the original point of war was women, as prior to agriculture what else was there to take?

    I don’t think that’s a lie.

    But in any case how is it Russophobic? Conquered women are fair game, and its not like the Germans conducted themselves well in the East. In fact probably the original point of war was women, as prior to agriculture what else was there to take?

    Lie in relation to the numbers claimed, obviously part of a disinformation campaign done by many sides against Russia to equate them with the Nazi rapists. It’s not the traditional allegation like in the former Yugoslavia where Serbs,Bosnians,Croats are all accusing each other of raping eachothers women, then arguing over who started it…… it’s not only German liars, but UK/US/France and the rest of the west propagating not only anti-Soviet nonsense to discredit the noble and glorious Red Army during the time of the Cold War….but anti-modern Russia…as part of on attempt to undermine Russia’s past,present and future.

    the weight of this large number is done on the basis that the majority of the rapes were done on pre-adolescent girls..and pensioners or women past child bearing age…..i.e a direct of the Goebbels “8 to 80″ lies against the “Mongoloid” Red Army Soldiers
    The 1-2 million BS is based on….an extrapolation of there being ONLY 1200 children born in the Soviet part of Berlin listed as having a Russian father…not on a weight of reliable eywitness accounts ( which are probably lies)

    1200 births, they claim there is a 20% chance of conception from a rape….and that 90% of rapes resulting in conception were aborted ( I suppose it’s “merciful” they didn’t make it all the way to 99.9999% of rapes that resulted in conception were aborted, otherwise the number claimed would be about a billion!).
    So from their own model they get to 60000 rapes on women of child bearing age….this then transform into 2 million because these cretins literally take the Goebbels “8 to 80″ propaganda to get to this figure.

    I can’t explain why, but I think there is something inevitable of rapes in rural areas from conquering armies….that shouldn’t be inevitable at all in city areas

    Another difference is that the German’s didn’t mind about exterminating people in Eastern Europe, the Russians were very conscientious of that fact that they needed the Germans on side in order to to help them run the place and rebuild it. Leadership were very tough on this type of thing and executed over 100 soldiers

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  166. @reiner Tor

    the USSR’s Warsaw Pact satellite states did not have vast war economies
     
    I believe they still spent way more on defense than most Western countries, at least before 1953 (and I think before 1956) Hungary spent enormous amounts on defense, something like a quarter of the budget. (GDP numbers weren't calculated, but I think it would be around 10% of GDP or more.) The armed forces were destroyed after 1956 (it wasn't used much during the revolution, only a few units participated in the defense against the Soviets, most of the units didn't receive any kinds of orders so they just stayed put in their barracks; the Soviets removed all Hungarian military equipment from the country), and defense spending was notably lower after 1956. The reorganized armed forces were also much smaller (around 65 thousand in the late 1950s, versus nearly 200 thousand before 1956), but were growing (I think it was again well over 150 thousand by the 1970s). It wasn't a very effective fighting force, but even after multiple budget cuts etc. it was still well over 100 thousand (plus of course enormous reserves) in the late 1980s. The Soviets didn't mind the very low level of training because they feared another revolution and thought it was better if only Soviet armed forces were good enough, so they didn't care for the inefficiencies in the Hungarian armed forces. Hungary I think spent much less than other Warsaw Pact countries. It must be noted that our economy was in better shape until the late 1980s than other Eastern Bloc countries, so probably less military spending didn't hurt us. (The big problem was external debt denominated mostly in USD, which was the result of some seemingly small mismanagement in the 1970s, and then the enormous mistake of paying interests out of new bank loans. The country could easily have paid back the debt in the 1970s but by the 1980s it grew so large that it was politically no longer possible, because it would've led to enormous drops in the living standards.)

    After 1990 we started spending much less on defense, as a result of which our armed forces are now in extremely bad shape, and so now we basically have to rebuild our armed forces almost from scratch. (At least that's Orbán's plan, we'll see if he'll manage to do anything about it.) As far as I know our armed forces are in the worst shape out of all neighboring countries, for example Slovakia has a similar sized (slightly smaller) and much better equipped force, even though Slovakia only has roughly half the population size or territory, and its territory is much easier to defend because it's mountainous. (This is one piece of evidence among many that Slovakia has been much better governed since 1990 than Hungary.) Even the Romanian armed forces are in much better shape, while being much larger (even proportionally, taking into account the much larger size of Romania's population and territory). This is a result of even Romania being better governed than Hungary since 1990.

    I think high military spending is harmful above maybe 5% of GDP or so, and it's also harmful if you just spend it to import stuff (like Hungary did mostly during communism). So Saudi Arabia's economy doesn't benefit from military spending at all, it's just wasted money. If it's below 5% of GDP, it might actually help. For example Airbus needs to receive (illegal under the WTO) subsidies from the EU governments, while Boeing needs no such subsidies. Of course, it can develop dual use technologies for its defense contracts and then use it to in civilian development, or cross-finance civilian project from defense contracts - after all, money is fungible. So defense spending helps keeping US civilian airliner production afloat. Probably there are many similar benefits. Defense spending is also not under EU or WTO regulations, so it just needs smart and patriotic politicians. (This automatically disqualifies all leftist Hungarian politicians, as well as our first conservative government 1990-94.)

    The USA spent 10% of GDP on defense throughout the 1950s, a period fondly remembered by Americans for its widespread prosperity and healthy families. People who complain about the war machine today have no idea how vast it was during the first half of the Cold War. During the 50s American factories were cranking out 2,000 combat aircraft each year and the navy had a thousand major ships.

    It’s a different matter of course when one has to import equipment. After Britain cancelled the TSR 2 (for budgetary reasons), it was intended to replace it with the American F-111. But then this too was cancelled as Britain concluded it could not afford the negative impact on its balance of trade.

    America of course largely does not import foreign weapons at all. The fantastic English Electric Canberra was adopted by the US Air Force, but Americanized and constructed domestically by the Glenn L. Martin company (now part of Lockheed Martin). Later something similar was done with the absolutely awful Harrier.

    A shamed about your armed forces, but all too typical in Europe. Sweden for instance effectively eliminated its army after 1990. Speaking with the older generation people in the 90s genuinely thought that we had attained some kind of nirvana and therefore it was no longer necessary to maintain a powerful military establishment. America never demilitarized, but there was for many years the absurd idea that future wars would just be colonial wars.

    I think high military spending is harmful above maybe 5% of GDP or so

    “I think”

    This is the sort of thing that needs to be quantified.

    Showa Japan spent over 20% of GDP on “defense”. From the start of the Great Depression up through Pearl Harbor Japanese industrial production quintupled. Electricity generation increased more than any other country during this time other than the Soviet Union.

    So Saudi Arabia’s economy doesn’t benefit from military spending at all, it’s just wasted money.

    In Saudi Arabia’s case this is definitely true, as the money spent on imports could invest be invested. Abu Dhabi and Norway for instance have large sovereign wealth funds which will serve them well when their oil reserves are exhausted.

    If it’s below 5% of GDP, it might actually help. For example Airbus needs to receive (illegal under the WTO) subsidies from the EU governments, while Boeing needs no such subsidies. Of course, it can develop dual use technologies for its defense contracts and then use it to in civilian development, or cross-finance civilian project from defense contracts – after all, money is fungible. So defense spending helps keeping US civilian airliner production afloat. Probably there are many similar benefits. Defense spending is also not under EU or WTO regulations, so it just needs smart and patriotic politicians. (This automatically disqualifies all leftist Hungarian politicians, as well as our first conservative government 1990-94.)

    I’ve always though that the civilian economy should be treated more like defense in some respects. Rather than permitting any dubious foreigner to export his goods here, the government (in cooperation with domestic business and labor interest) should negotiate with foreign firms/governments when a certain product or technology appears elsewhere. The object of the negotiation should be to produce said product domestically with the maximum amount of technology transfer that can be obtained.

    Likewise just as we strive to prevent advanced defense technology from falling into the hands of foreigners, the same should apply to civilian technology. In fact we did attempt to limit the transfer of advanced technology to the USSR, but even then it was under the rubric of defense. COCOM only restricted “dual-use” technology. The fact is the goal is for foreigners to have no technology of any kind (obviously impossible, but no need to help them along) as all technology increases power and wealth.

    Basically a revival of mercantilism, with a specific focus on technology. And no obsessive focus on hoarding bullion.

    Wilbur Ross appears to understand this, but unfortunately he’s 80.

    Before some liberast dweeb suggests this will reduce global economic growth and thus harm all of us, that’s irrelevant. The point isn’t to be richer. It’s to be richer than other people. And you absolutely do want to harm foreigners (or rather, prevent them from attaining success to the extent it is possible unless they are very close allies with mutual interests).

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  167. @Anonymous
    Interesting argument to consider in general terms.

    But since China is only at

    (1) a middle income level of about $9,000 per capita and
    (2) the budget that would otherwise be going to military spending is spent on transportation infrastructure (almost 2% of GDP in China goes to high speed rail, subways, conventional rail, and expressways), then I think at this juncture in China's development relatively low military spending is 100% a good idea.

    In fact it should probably be even lower like only 1 to 1.5% of GDP rather than 2% of GDP. A country like China where there are still several hundred counties with child malnutrition should be subsidizing infant formula for 1 year olds to prevent IQ degradation rather than joining the big boys club with aircraft carrier construction.

    Good point about China being middle income. Its tax system is not all that well-developed, nor are its capital markets. The USSR however was a command economy.

    I agree that China’s defense spending should be lower, or rather less provocative. For instance it could spend the same amount but skip aircraft carriers for now, which are obviously noticed and commented on in Tokyo and Washington. Instead it could, say, buy more S-400 systems. There’s also a lot of stuff very important in war but is boring and unsexy and tends to be neglected in peacetime. Just about anything to do with logistics for instance. You can spend on that and get a much better military, but it goes unnoticed elsewhere. Munitions warstocks also go largely unnoticed, and are almost always too low.

    Of course you need some sexy stuff for deterrence, but the S-400 counts there. Meanwhile the obvious purpose of an aircraft carrier is to sail it far away from home waters in order to bomb the shit out of something.

    But I assume that domestic politics is partly driving China’s carrier program. Leading China probably requires being seen as tough. Building carriers makes you seem tough, so then the CCP won’t think it needs to remove a “weak” leader.

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  168. songbird says:
    @reiner Tor

    the USSR’s Warsaw Pact satellite states did not have vast war economies
     
    I believe they still spent way more on defense than most Western countries, at least before 1953 (and I think before 1956) Hungary spent enormous amounts on defense, something like a quarter of the budget. (GDP numbers weren't calculated, but I think it would be around 10% of GDP or more.) The armed forces were destroyed after 1956 (it wasn't used much during the revolution, only a few units participated in the defense against the Soviets, most of the units didn't receive any kinds of orders so they just stayed put in their barracks; the Soviets removed all Hungarian military equipment from the country), and defense spending was notably lower after 1956. The reorganized armed forces were also much smaller (around 65 thousand in the late 1950s, versus nearly 200 thousand before 1956), but were growing (I think it was again well over 150 thousand by the 1970s). It wasn't a very effective fighting force, but even after multiple budget cuts etc. it was still well over 100 thousand (plus of course enormous reserves) in the late 1980s. The Soviets didn't mind the very low level of training because they feared another revolution and thought it was better if only Soviet armed forces were good enough, so they didn't care for the inefficiencies in the Hungarian armed forces. Hungary I think spent much less than other Warsaw Pact countries. It must be noted that our economy was in better shape until the late 1980s than other Eastern Bloc countries, so probably less military spending didn't hurt us. (The big problem was external debt denominated mostly in USD, which was the result of some seemingly small mismanagement in the 1970s, and then the enormous mistake of paying interests out of new bank loans. The country could easily have paid back the debt in the 1970s but by the 1980s it grew so large that it was politically no longer possible, because it would've led to enormous drops in the living standards.)

    After 1990 we started spending much less on defense, as a result of which our armed forces are now in extremely bad shape, and so now we basically have to rebuild our armed forces almost from scratch. (At least that's Orbán's plan, we'll see if he'll manage to do anything about it.) As far as I know our armed forces are in the worst shape out of all neighboring countries, for example Slovakia has a similar sized (slightly smaller) and much better equipped force, even though Slovakia only has roughly half the population size or territory, and its territory is much easier to defend because it's mountainous. (This is one piece of evidence among many that Slovakia has been much better governed since 1990 than Hungary.) Even the Romanian armed forces are in much better shape, while being much larger (even proportionally, taking into account the much larger size of Romania's population and territory). This is a result of even Romania being better governed than Hungary since 1990.

    I think high military spending is harmful above maybe 5% of GDP or so, and it's also harmful if you just spend it to import stuff (like Hungary did mostly during communism). So Saudi Arabia's economy doesn't benefit from military spending at all, it's just wasted money. If it's below 5% of GDP, it might actually help. For example Airbus needs to receive (illegal under the WTO) subsidies from the EU governments, while Boeing needs no such subsidies. Of course, it can develop dual use technologies for its defense contracts and then use it to in civilian development, or cross-finance civilian project from defense contracts - after all, money is fungible. So defense spending helps keeping US civilian airliner production afloat. Probably there are many similar benefits. Defense spending is also not under EU or WTO regulations, so it just needs smart and patriotic politicians. (This automatically disqualifies all leftist Hungarian politicians, as well as our first conservative government 1990-94.)

    East Germany spent a massive amount maintaining its security apparatus and border.

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    And was the most prosperous and technologically advanced country in the Bloc.
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  169. Randal says:

    The Euro/UK parts of the US sphere mainstream media seem to be full of panicky comments by Russophobes seeking to scaremonger against the possibility that the end of the Iran deal might cause Europe to show some self-respect in its dealings with the US, and thereby need to start behaving reasonably towards Russia. Of course it’s theoretically possible that Europe’s leaders could stop pretending to believe in the Russia bogeyman, but that would require hitherto unsuspected levels of backbone amongst the likes of Merkel, May and Macron.

    Meanwhile, Europe’s proposal seems similar to Karlin’s description above of the Russian response – namely a “blocking law” described as “allow[ing] companies to ignore penalties issued by certain non-EU jurisdictions“.

    I’m not familiar with the details of the statute in question, but it is hard to see how merely exhorting companies not to comply with American sanctions will prevent those with significant US operations (ie almost all of any real size) from complying. To even start to have any effect in sparing European humiliation, such a law would have to bar all enforcement of US court decisions and all extraditions related to sanctions enforcement, and that wouldn’t protect companies with US assets and/or employees, which are the ones at risk anyway.

    In the end, only vigorous tit for tat retaliation against US assets (unthinkable for the US worshipping Euro-elites) or the creation of an entire banking and insurance infrastructure insulated from US influence (and therefore barred from doing business in the US) could allow a real restoration of European sovereignty in this area.

    Anyway, Maersk, Allianz and Total have all reportedly announced their departure from Iran in obedience to Washington’s dictat, so the fiction of European sovereignty is already looking pretty threadbare.

    In the sense that it rubs people’s noses in the hard reality, this cannot ultimately be a bad thing. Satellite nations like the UK and the EU states absolutely should have their noses rubbed in their real status as long as it takes for enough among them to decide to stand on their hind feet again, and elect leaders who will do so for them. The contemptible should be humiliated.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Incidentally, this shows that the calculus of Trump (and Fox Bolton) about Europe is 100% correct. In diplomacy the Europeans are completely irrelevant, and therefore they can be ignored. They can even be treated with open contempt with no negative consequences of any kind.

    This means that the Democratic Party's foreign policy specialists, who are obsessed with European approval, are wrong and irrational. Their desire to work with Europe stems not from any strategic requirement (which Europe has proven does not exist), but of their love of European governance and hatred of national sovereignty.

    Not that I support the pull out from the Iran deal, which was unnecessary and perhaps harmful. However pulling out from the Iran deal is not really that harmful.

    The worst case is that Iran successfully develops nuclear weapons. So what? Their delivery systems can't reach America to begin with (and won't anytime soon), and it would stop us (I hope...) from attacking them in the future. If they nuke Israel, who cares?
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  170. @songbird
    East Germany spent a massive amount maintaining its security apparatus and border.

    And was the most prosperous and technologically advanced country in the Bloc.

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    • Replies: @songbird
    East Berlin, at least, was subsidized by the USSR. They wanted a showcase, for their way of living, and it made sense to chose something proximal to the West. I believe the whole country was subsidized. That's why they ate more meat, for instance. It is an open question whether or not it could have survived on its own - I think probably not. NK does at least in a sense, but geography favors its isolation.

    The USSR's economy was greatly distorted. The US had the resources to do some real quality control on the Saturn V (one partial failure out of 13). The Soviet Union did not: N1 (4 out of 4, failures.) And the space program and military really cut into the consumer economy, ask anyone who lived in Eastern Europe, how hard it was to get a washer machine. Maybe, that part of it is obscure because the whole economy was planned, but even look at the US.

    US had relatively high military spending. It led to a lot of adventurous wars, like Vietnam. Vietnam may have been a partial war (without the economy needed to be completely re-orientated) but the cost was still staggeringly massive. My father was drafted. Being drafted is a pretty big cost. He was lucky to be be assigned to Germany, but it was still a cost to him.

    Maybe we have moved past the drafting part? I don't know, but the adventurism certainly still has its costs to all of us. Anyway, I think Europe is more pozzed because of NATO. They would have been much better off, if they thought the US wasn't going to come to their rescue. Better off, even if they were conquered by the Soviets, IMO.
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  171. @Randal
    The Euro/UK parts of the US sphere mainstream media seem to be full of panicky comments by Russophobes seeking to scaremonger against the possibility that the end of the Iran deal might cause Europe to show some self-respect in its dealings with the US, and thereby need to start behaving reasonably towards Russia. Of course it's theoretically possible that Europe's leaders could stop pretending to believe in the Russia bogeyman, but that would require hitherto unsuspected levels of backbone amongst the likes of Merkel, May and Macron.

    Meanwhile, Europe's proposal seems similar to Karlin's description above of the Russian response - namely a "blocking law" described as "allow[ing] companies to ignore penalties issued by certain non-EU jurisdictions".

    I'm not familiar with the details of the statute in question, but it is hard to see how merely exhorting companies not to comply with American sanctions will prevent those with significant US operations (ie almost all of any real size) from complying. To even start to have any effect in sparing European humiliation, such a law would have to bar all enforcement of US court decisions and all extraditions related to sanctions enforcement, and that wouldn't protect companies with US assets and/or employees, which are the ones at risk anyway.

    In the end, only vigorous tit for tat retaliation against US assets (unthinkable for the US worshipping Euro-elites) or the creation of an entire banking and insurance infrastructure insulated from US influence (and therefore barred from doing business in the US) could allow a real restoration of European sovereignty in this area.

    Anyway, Maersk, Allianz and Total have all reportedly announced their departure from Iran in obedience to Washington's dictat, so the fiction of European sovereignty is already looking pretty threadbare.

    In the sense that it rubs people's noses in the hard reality, this cannot ultimately be a bad thing. Satellite nations like the UK and the EU states absolutely should have their noses rubbed in their real status as long as it takes for enough among them to decide to stand on their hind feet again, and elect leaders who will do so for them. The contemptible should be humiliated.

    Incidentally, this shows that the calculus of Trump (and Fox Bolton) about Europe is 100% correct. In diplomacy the Europeans are completely irrelevant, and therefore they can be ignored. They can even be treated with open contempt with no negative consequences of any kind.

    This means that the Democratic Party’s foreign policy specialists, who are obsessed with European approval, are wrong and irrational. Their desire to work with Europe stems not from any strategic requirement (which Europe has proven does not exist), but of their love of European governance and hatred of national sovereignty.

    Not that I support the pull out from the Iran deal, which was unnecessary and perhaps harmful. However pulling out from the Iran deal is not really that harmful.

    The worst case is that Iran successfully develops nuclear weapons. So what? Their delivery systems can’t reach America to begin with (and won’t anytime soon), and it would stop us (I hope…) from attacking them in the future. If they nuke Israel, who cares?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    Incidentally, this shows that the calculus of Trump (and Fox Bolton) about Europe is 100% correct. In diplomacy the Europeans are completely irrelevant, and therefore they can be ignored. They can even be treated with open contempt with no negative consequences of any kind.
     
    Indeed.

    Hopefully, even the basest cur might eventually show spirit if kicked often and hard enough, but only time will tell whether Europeans and British can be shamed into wanting to regain their self respect.
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  172. utu says:

    The US has population 20 times higher than DDR. With 1.1 state and local law enforcement employees, plus federal agencies (at least 50k) and at least 0.5 million prison employees may give similar if not higher rate per capita than in DDR.

    In 1939 Germany had 3-4 time lower incarceration rate (including KL’s) that in the US now.

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    • Replies: @AP
    I'm too lazy to look it up - do you know the comparative incarceration rates by race (1930s Germany vs. white and Asian America)?
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  173. Randal says:
    @utu
    I followed your exchange of arguments with AK and I was pleased to see that you argued more skillfully along the same line as I did with Reiner Tor few days ago. He basically did not want to have anything to do with Israel and wanted to allow Israel to keep bombing, For many reasons much sounder and safer approach is to make an ultimatum to Israel that they must stop or else where the else must be something forceful and credible including a threat of nuclear strike. By doing nothing the risk of nuclear war is higher and chances of getting first in conflict with the US first is more likely while in the meantime having Russia power and reputation being eroded with every new Israeli attack. In last comment to Reiner Tor I made a table of risks for all possibilities.

    Karlin's arguments just like Reiner Tor's were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice. AK can't do Real Politik arguing that Syria does not really love Russia and is just an opportunist Russophile. And Assad spent too much time in Paris instead of showing his obsequiousness in Moscow. Then Iran is not loving Russia strong enough either because it did not recognize Crimea. Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can't do politics if you want to be loved.

    What Russia will do nobody knows. Will Bibi help to make a deal with Trump for Russia? Or will Bibi get even more difficult during the World Cup? Perhaps AK should come up with some poll about possible outcomes for the next two months. With prizes. The grand prize for the one who predicts WWIII and the total annihilation.

    For many reasons much sounder and safer approach is to make an ultimatum to Israel that they must stop or else where the else must be something forceful and credible including a threat of nuclear strike.

    I agree, except that threatening a nuclear strike is imo neither necessary nor credible (such a threat in extremis is of course implicit anyway to some extent whenever a nuclear power negotiates in a military context).

    In reality imo, all Russia has to do is to threaten to sustain Syrian air defences as far as necessary and to stand aside while Syria, backed by Iran, enacts a policy of tit for tat strikes on targets in Israel in response to each and every Israeli strike in Syria. Vitally, though, this must not be a bluff, as there’s a good chance Israel will try to call it. A hefty improvement in Syrian air defences should be carried out first.

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    • Replies: @utu

    In reality imo, all Russia has to do is to threaten to sustain Syrian air defences as far as necessary and to stand aside while Syria, backed by Iran, enacts a policy of tit for tat strikes on targets in Israel in response to each and every Israeli strike in Syria. Vitally, though, this must not be a bluff, as there’s a good chance Israel will try to call it. A hefty improvement in Syrian air defences should be carried out first.
     
    I think it is not enough because of the lack of balance of power. Russia is too weak in Syria in conventional weapons which she will not be able to resupply in case of serious conflict and Syria is too weak to engage in exchange with Israel. Therefore Israel will call the bluff. Will Russia stay put and watch as Syrian forces are obliterated? That's why Russia has to put the nuclear option on the table early in the game. In this case the question about nuclear weapons is when not if: Should they be used after Russian contingent is obliterated or should they be used before it happens? Or should Russia abandon Syria altogether before its forces are obliterated or after its forces are obliterated if it precluded the nuclear option form the start?
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  174. Randal says:
    @for-the-record

    Alas, Putin is not alone:

    Theresa May demands ‘all sides’ show restraint after Israeli troops shoot dead scores of Palestinians at Gaza border

    Gaza: EU calls for restraint on both sides following deaths of dozens of Palestinian protesters

    Surprise surprise, world leaders queue up to abase themselves to the jewish state, shamefully pretending to believe that black is white in order to avoid expressing any inconvenient truth that might upset the latter and its influential lobbies in their own countries.

    But don’t even think about saying that you think there might be some degree of excessive jewish influence in the world and in those countries! That would be anti-Semitic hate speech, and might get you locked up in “free” countries like the UK.

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  175. Randal says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    Incidentally, this shows that the calculus of Trump (and Fox Bolton) about Europe is 100% correct. In diplomacy the Europeans are completely irrelevant, and therefore they can be ignored. They can even be treated with open contempt with no negative consequences of any kind.

    This means that the Democratic Party's foreign policy specialists, who are obsessed with European approval, are wrong and irrational. Their desire to work with Europe stems not from any strategic requirement (which Europe has proven does not exist), but of their love of European governance and hatred of national sovereignty.

    Not that I support the pull out from the Iran deal, which was unnecessary and perhaps harmful. However pulling out from the Iran deal is not really that harmful.

    The worst case is that Iran successfully develops nuclear weapons. So what? Their delivery systems can't reach America to begin with (and won't anytime soon), and it would stop us (I hope...) from attacking them in the future. If they nuke Israel, who cares?

    Incidentally, this shows that the calculus of Trump (and Fox Bolton) about Europe is 100% correct. In diplomacy the Europeans are completely irrelevant, and therefore they can be ignored. They can even be treated with open contempt with no negative consequences of any kind.

    Indeed.

    Hopefully, even the basest cur might eventually show spirit if kicked often and hard enough, but only time will tell whether Europeans and British can be shamed into wanting to regain their self respect.

    Read More
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  176. songbird says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    And was the most prosperous and technologically advanced country in the Bloc.

    East Berlin, at least, was subsidized by the USSR. They wanted a showcase, for their way of living, and it made sense to chose something proximal to the West. I believe the whole country was subsidized. That’s why they ate more meat, for instance. It is an open question whether or not it could have survived on its own – I think probably not. NK does at least in a sense, but geography favors its isolation.

    The USSR’s economy was greatly distorted. The US had the resources to do some real quality control on the Saturn V (one partial failure out of 13). The Soviet Union did not: N1 (4 out of 4, failures.) And the space program and military really cut into the consumer economy, ask anyone who lived in Eastern Europe, how hard it was to get a washer machine. Maybe, that part of it is obscure because the whole economy was planned, but even look at the US.

    US had relatively high military spending. It led to a lot of adventurous wars, like Vietnam. Vietnam may have been a partial war (without the economy needed to be completely re-orientated) but the cost was still staggeringly massive. My father was drafted. Being drafted is a pretty big cost. He was lucky to be be assigned to Germany, but it was still a cost to him.

    Maybe we have moved past the drafting part? I don’t know, but the adventurism certainly still has its costs to all of us. Anyway, I think Europe is more pozzed because of NATO. They would have been much better off, if they thought the US wasn’t going to come to their rescue. Better off, even if they were conquered by the Soviets, IMO.

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  177. AP says:
    @utu
    The US has population 20 times higher than DDR. With 1.1 state and local law enforcement employees, plus federal agencies (at least 50k) and at least 0.5 million prison employees may give similar if not higher rate per capita than in DDR.

    In 1939 Germany had 3-4 time lower incarceration rate (including KL's) that in the US now.

    I’m too lazy to look it up – do you know the comparative incarceration rates by race (1930s Germany vs. white and Asian America)?

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    • Replies: @utu
    There were no races in 1930 Germany. And the US now is pretty well known. If you remove Black population from American stats you still get that the US now has two times higher incarceration rate than Germany in 1939.

    The reason I commented on in the first place was to show that costs on security apparatus in the US are very high. Higher than DDR in 1989 and higher than Their Reich in 1939.
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  178. utu says:
    @AP
    I'm too lazy to look it up - do you know the comparative incarceration rates by race (1930s Germany vs. white and Asian America)?

    There were no races in 1930 Germany. And the US now is pretty well known. If you remove Black population from American stats you still get that the US now has two times higher incarceration rate than Germany in 1939.

    The reason I commented on in the first place was to show that costs on security apparatus in the US are very high. Higher than DDR in 1989 and higher than Their Reich in 1939.

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  179. utu says:

    Belarus: Everything I am reading about Belarus here and there keeps sounding very good as if some miracle was taking place or as if the country was under special protections form the almighty. First of all it did not fall into the grip of wester neoliberalism and second it managed to keep away Russia’s corrupt and criminal culture as wells as Ukraine’s idiotic nationalism.

    There is something in their culture which is hard to imagine in Russia or Ukraine. These people seem to be well organized, neat, think about future. Certainly the authoritarian government there is benevolent and doing the right thing.

    We should pray for them that Russia, Ukraine and Poland which are like laud mouth yahoos who do not walk their talk leave Belarus alone.

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  180. utu says:
    @Randal

    For many reasons much sounder and safer approach is to make an ultimatum to Israel that they must stop or else where the else must be something forceful and credible including a threat of nuclear strike.
     
    I agree, except that threatening a nuclear strike is imo neither necessary nor credible (such a threat in extremis is of course implicit anyway to some extent whenever a nuclear power negotiates in a military context).

    In reality imo, all Russia has to do is to threaten to sustain Syrian air defences as far as necessary and to stand aside while Syria, backed by Iran, enacts a policy of tit for tat strikes on targets in Israel in response to each and every Israeli strike in Syria. Vitally, though, this must not be a bluff, as there's a good chance Israel will try to call it. A hefty improvement in Syrian air defences should be carried out first.

    In reality imo, all Russia has to do is to threaten to sustain Syrian air defences as far as necessary and to stand aside while Syria, backed by Iran, enacts a policy of tit for tat strikes on targets in Israel in response to each and every Israeli strike in Syria. Vitally, though, this must not be a bluff, as there’s a good chance Israel will try to call it. A hefty improvement in Syrian air defences should be carried out first.

    I think it is not enough because of the lack of balance of power. Russia is too weak in Syria in conventional weapons which she will not be able to resupply in case of serious conflict and Syria is too weak to engage in exchange with Israel. Therefore Israel will call the bluff. Will Russia stay put and watch as Syrian forces are obliterated? That’s why Russia has to put the nuclear option on the table early in the game. In this case the question about nuclear weapons is when not if: Should they be used after Russian contingent is obliterated or should they be used before it happens? Or should Russia abandon Syria altogether before its forces are obliterated or after its forces are obliterated if it precluded the nuclear option form the start?

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    • Replies: @Randal

    Russia is too weak in Syria in conventional weapons which she will not be able to resupply in case of serious conflict and Syria is too weak to engage in exchange with Israel.
     
    Iran can supply all the conventional weapons Syria would need, airpower aside. Russia is needed as a backstop, mainly, and to deter too direct US intervention.

    Therefore Israel will call the bluff
     
    Yes, I agree that Israel will certainly call anything it sees as a bluff. That's why it must not be a bluff, and the forces must be in place to ensure that it is not that.
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  181. Randal says:
    @utu

    In reality imo, all Russia has to do is to threaten to sustain Syrian air defences as far as necessary and to stand aside while Syria, backed by Iran, enacts a policy of tit for tat strikes on targets in Israel in response to each and every Israeli strike in Syria. Vitally, though, this must not be a bluff, as there’s a good chance Israel will try to call it. A hefty improvement in Syrian air defences should be carried out first.
     
    I think it is not enough because of the lack of balance of power. Russia is too weak in Syria in conventional weapons which she will not be able to resupply in case of serious conflict and Syria is too weak to engage in exchange with Israel. Therefore Israel will call the bluff. Will Russia stay put and watch as Syrian forces are obliterated? That's why Russia has to put the nuclear option on the table early in the game. In this case the question about nuclear weapons is when not if: Should they be used after Russian contingent is obliterated or should they be used before it happens? Or should Russia abandon Syria altogether before its forces are obliterated or after its forces are obliterated if it precluded the nuclear option form the start?

    Russia is too weak in Syria in conventional weapons which she will not be able to resupply in case of serious conflict and Syria is too weak to engage in exchange with Israel.

    Iran can supply all the conventional weapons Syria would need, airpower aside. Russia is needed as a backstop, mainly, and to deter too direct US intervention.

    Therefore Israel will call the bluff

    Yes, I agree that Israel will certainly call anything it sees as a bluff. That’s why it must not be a bluff, and the forces must be in place to ensure that it is not that.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    On the other hand, I'm still not fully convinced Russia really needs to do much about Israeli bombing raids.

    Let's face it, no one is paying them to rid the world of Israel, and Israel's bad habit of bombing Syria (which has been going on since... basically, forever, long before Russian involvement, even long before the civil war broke out) doesn't seem to influence the balance of power much.

    I would probably do something against it, but that's just me. It's obvious that Russia has little appetite to go into war with Israel, and it justifiably views Arabs as incompetent who cannot wage war (even some kind of air war with air defense) against Israel on their own. As long as Israel is in no position to topple Assad (and they don't seem to), what's in it for Russia, other than PR, anyway?

    I don't find the argument about Russia needing to show it's a reliable partner that convincing. It's very similar to the argument used by neocons why the US needs to take a stand against Evil Dictator of Whichever Arab Country Neocons Want to Topple. To show that the US is a Reliable Partner (of Saudi Arabia or Georgia or Ukraine or whatever) and similar arguments.

    The only Russian failure I can see is voting for the Iran and Libya sanctions, the latter was immediately harshly criticized by Putin. Let's mention that China was also at least somewhat guilty in these, so unlikely that China was going to hold these against Putin. The North Korea sanctions were basically Chinese policy, and it's difficult to see why Putin would go against China on North Korea, which is really China's backyard (while Iran is not really Russia's backyard), but was almost colonized by Russia over a century ago (so China might be touchy about it).

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-12810566
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  182. @Randal

    Russia is too weak in Syria in conventional weapons which she will not be able to resupply in case of serious conflict and Syria is too weak to engage in exchange with Israel.
     
    Iran can supply all the conventional weapons Syria would need, airpower aside. Russia is needed as a backstop, mainly, and to deter too direct US intervention.

    Therefore Israel will call the bluff
     
    Yes, I agree that Israel will certainly call anything it sees as a bluff. That's why it must not be a bluff, and the forces must be in place to ensure that it is not that.

    On the other hand, I’m still not fully convinced Russia really needs to do much about Israeli bombing raids.

    Let’s face it, no one is paying them to rid the world of Israel, and Israel’s bad habit of bombing Syria (which has been going on since… basically, forever, long before Russian involvement, even long before the civil war broke out) doesn’t seem to influence the balance of power much.

    I would probably do something against it, but that’s just me. It’s obvious that Russia has little appetite to go into war with Israel, and it justifiably views Arabs as incompetent who cannot wage war (even some kind of air war with air defense) against Israel on their own. As long as Israel is in no position to topple Assad (and they don’t seem to), what’s in it for Russia, other than PR, anyway?

    I don’t find the argument about Russia needing to show it’s a reliable partner that convincing. It’s very similar to the argument used by neocons why the US needs to take a stand against Evil Dictator of Whichever Arab Country Neocons Want to Topple. To show that the US is a Reliable Partner (of Saudi Arabia or Georgia or Ukraine or whatever) and similar arguments.

    The only Russian failure I can see is voting for the Iran and Libya sanctions, the latter was immediately harshly criticized by Putin. Let’s mention that China was also at least somewhat guilty in these, so unlikely that China was going to hold these against Putin. The North Korea sanctions were basically Chinese policy, and it’s difficult to see why Putin would go against China on North Korea, which is really China’s backyard (while Iran is not really Russia’s backyard), but was almost colonized by Russia over a century ago (so China might be touchy about it).

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-12810566

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    I don't think you can compare bombing today with bombing in the past. The objective of Israel's bombing today is furthering Israel's objective in Syria in general, namely ensuring that Syria cannot form a stable reconstructed state, by doing as much as it can get away with to keep the government discredited and its forces degraded. That objective is diametrically opposed to Russian interests in Syria.

    And there is no equivalence between the needs of a globally dominant superpower and those of a less powerful state under active ongoing attack by said superpower. Appeasement, whether of the US or of Israel, is not a productive policy, or one that should be adopted in any situation other than dire necessity.
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  183. Randal says:
    @reiner Tor
    On the other hand, I'm still not fully convinced Russia really needs to do much about Israeli bombing raids.

    Let's face it, no one is paying them to rid the world of Israel, and Israel's bad habit of bombing Syria (which has been going on since... basically, forever, long before Russian involvement, even long before the civil war broke out) doesn't seem to influence the balance of power much.

    I would probably do something against it, but that's just me. It's obvious that Russia has little appetite to go into war with Israel, and it justifiably views Arabs as incompetent who cannot wage war (even some kind of air war with air defense) against Israel on their own. As long as Israel is in no position to topple Assad (and they don't seem to), what's in it for Russia, other than PR, anyway?

    I don't find the argument about Russia needing to show it's a reliable partner that convincing. It's very similar to the argument used by neocons why the US needs to take a stand against Evil Dictator of Whichever Arab Country Neocons Want to Topple. To show that the US is a Reliable Partner (of Saudi Arabia or Georgia or Ukraine or whatever) and similar arguments.

    The only Russian failure I can see is voting for the Iran and Libya sanctions, the latter was immediately harshly criticized by Putin. Let's mention that China was also at least somewhat guilty in these, so unlikely that China was going to hold these against Putin. The North Korea sanctions were basically Chinese policy, and it's difficult to see why Putin would go against China on North Korea, which is really China's backyard (while Iran is not really Russia's backyard), but was almost colonized by Russia over a century ago (so China might be touchy about it).

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-12810566

    I don’t think you can compare bombing today with bombing in the past. The objective of Israel’s bombing today is furthering Israel’s objective in Syria in general, namely ensuring that Syria cannot form a stable reconstructed state, by doing as much as it can get away with to keep the government discredited and its forces degraded. That objective is diametrically opposed to Russian interests in Syria.

    And there is no equivalence between the needs of a globally dominant superpower and those of a less powerful state under active ongoing attack by said superpower. Appeasement, whether of the US or of Israel, is not a productive policy, or one that should be adopted in any situation other than dire necessity.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    The objective of Israel’s bombing today
     
    But do they succeed in this objective?

    ensuring that Syria cannot form a stable reconstructed state
     
    And? I'm not saying that's not bad for Russia, I'm just suggesting you take a step back, and take a cold hard look at how bad it is. I'd suggest it's an annoyance for Russia. Not something worth risking a bigger conflict over.

    Look, Russia only came to Syria because it needed to get some live fire practice for its troops, it wanted to keep its military base there, it wanted to stop the regime change projects, and it wanted to advertise its weapons abroad. Now of these four goals, Israel interferes only with the fourth, probably the least important of all. There could be some other problems Israel is causing Russia (most importantly by making Iran bleed in Syria, both bleeding money and quite literally bleeding soldiers - this makes it more difficult for Iran to pay for Russian weapons or airplanes or whatever), but those are even more minor and even less worth a military conflict over.

    Again, I'd probably take a more forceful stand against Israel, but I don't think you can blame Putin for wanting to keep good relations with Israel.

    For example it's possible that some (ultimately probably American) technology is still clandestinely being sold by Israel to Russia. Remember, they don't quite participate in any of the embargoes or hysterias against Russia, be it because of the Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, the Skripals, or whatever. In 2010 (before the current sanctions regime) they were even selling military tech to Russia. (And perhaps clandestinely they are still doing it - the interesting thing is that to investigate it is in the interests of neither the few pro-Russian media outlets nor the neocon or pro-establishment media outlets. So probably you'd be reading even less about it than about the Israeli-South African trade relations back in the 1970s.)

    I'm sure Russia is happy to see free trade with Israel while other countries are introducing ever more forceful sanctions and embargoes. I think it's not very likely that Russia receives nothing in this relationship.

    https://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Books-Israel-and-the-saleof-advanced-drones-to-Russia-480326

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-israel-russia/israel-to-russia-we-sat-out-western-sanctions-so-help-us-in-mideast-idUSKBN1I41AB

    https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Israel-pays-a-high-price-for-Russia-sanctions-542669

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-trade-with-russia-leaps-by-25/
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  184. @Randal
    I don't think you can compare bombing today with bombing in the past. The objective of Israel's bombing today is furthering Israel's objective in Syria in general, namely ensuring that Syria cannot form a stable reconstructed state, by doing as much as it can get away with to keep the government discredited and its forces degraded. That objective is diametrically opposed to Russian interests in Syria.

    And there is no equivalence between the needs of a globally dominant superpower and those of a less powerful state under active ongoing attack by said superpower. Appeasement, whether of the US or of Israel, is not a productive policy, or one that should be adopted in any situation other than dire necessity.

    The objective of Israel’s bombing today

    But do they succeed in this objective?

    ensuring that Syria cannot form a stable reconstructed state

    And? I’m not saying that’s not bad for Russia, I’m just suggesting you take a step back, and take a cold hard look at how bad it is. I’d suggest it’s an annoyance for Russia. Not something worth risking a bigger conflict over.

    Look, Russia only came to Syria because it needed to get some live fire practice for its troops, it wanted to keep its military base there, it wanted to stop the regime change projects, and it wanted to advertise its weapons abroad. Now of these four goals, Israel interferes only with the fourth, probably the least important of all. There could be some other problems Israel is causing Russia (most importantly by making Iran bleed in Syria, both bleeding money and quite literally bleeding soldiers – this makes it more difficult for Iran to pay for Russian weapons or airplanes or whatever), but those are even more minor and even less worth a military conflict over.

    Again, I’d probably take a more forceful stand against Israel, but I don’t think you can blame Putin for wanting to keep good relations with Israel.

    For example it’s possible that some (ultimately probably American) technology is still clandestinely being sold by Israel to Russia. Remember, they don’t quite participate in any of the embargoes or hysterias against Russia, be it because of the Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, the Skripals, or whatever. In 2010 (before the current sanctions regime) they were even selling military tech to Russia. (And perhaps clandestinely they are still doing it – the interesting thing is that to investigate it is in the interests of neither the few pro-Russian media outlets nor the neocon or pro-establishment media outlets. So probably you’d be reading even less about it than about the Israeli-South African trade relations back in the 1970s.)

    I’m sure Russia is happy to see free trade with Israel while other countries are introducing ever more forceful sanctions and embargoes. I think it’s not very likely that Russia receives nothing in this relationship.

    https://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Books-Israel-and-the-saleof-advanced-drones-to-Russia-480326

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-israel-russia/israel-to-russia-we-sat-out-western-sanctions-so-help-us-in-mideast-idUSKBN1I41AB

    https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Israel-pays-a-high-price-for-Russia-sanctions-542669

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-trade-with-russia-leaps-by-25/

    Read More
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  185. Essentially the risk for Russia is to be used the way Israel used South Africa – it could break the embargo (which was usually supported by Israel’s supporters, who turned a blind eye to Israel’s weapons deals with SA), so sold the South Africans weapons, but it didn’t help South Africa survive.

    On the other hand, South Africa didn’t collapse because of Israel, it collapsed mostly for internal reasons. I mean, Israel even helped them acquire nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

    So I think overall the SA-Israeli relationship was mutually beneficial (though you might term it as exploitative if you believe that Israel and foreign Jewry were one and the same entity – even so, had they refused to deal with Israel, it’d only have made their own position worse, so it was still beneficial for them to trade with Israel), and similarly probably the Russian-Israeli relationship is something like that.

    Again, depending on the size of the clandestine trade (perhaps negligible? perhaps very important military tech transfers? in between? I don’t know) I’d probably be more forceful against Israel, but I agree with Anatoly that it’s probably not worth for Russia to risk a wider conflict with Israel. The equation might be changing, especially if the ever larger-scale strikes in Syria will be repeated over and over again, but I’m not so sure.

    I didn’t like Putin’s handling of the Alleged Douma Chemical Attack Missile Strike Crisis, I think he was weak there. For example his diplomats were threatening with war, but then nothing happened. He should’ve just prepared for war, which would’ve been no threat (so no need to follow up). I floated a few weeks ago asking NATO governments (my original idea was just Estonia, but now I think all NATO governments should have been asked) in diplomatic notes about their behavior in the unfortunate event if an American military attack on Russian or allied (Syrian) forces led to a war between Russia and the US. After all, these governments routinely let the American air force use their airspaces or military bases.

    Similarly it was very weak of Putin to announce (or allow his subordinates to announce) supplying Syria with S-300 systems and then retract it. They should only talk about it publicly if they are already willing to go there.

    Similarly I think his handling of the sanctions was bad. After the US announced the sanctions on Rusal, Russia should’ve started to send weapons to Iran, maybe for use in Syria. I don’t know.

    I’m sure the sanctions hurt Russia way more than the Israeli airstrikes. I’m also sure that they hurt way more deeply than any benefit from the Israeli relationship. So from a Russian perspective, it’s obvious that any forceful action against Israel should for the moment be tied to the sanctions. Like, another extraterrestrial sanction against a Russian company, another weapons system (operated by Iranians or Russian mercenaries) sent to Syria.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    I’m sure the sanctions hurt Russia way more than the Israeli airstrikes. I’m also sure that they hurt way more deeply than any benefit from the Israeli relationship. So from a Russian perspective, it’s obvious that any forceful action against Israel should for the moment be tied to the sanctions.
     
    What's the relation between the two things? Sanctions from the West, and relations with Israel.

    If Israel is destroying expensive equipment inside Syria, then there would be a response to try to regain the cost.

    But otherwise, Israel-Russia relationship is about the same as Israel-France relationship, Israel-India relationship, or Israel-UK relationship.

    Considering Israel's closest ally is the United States, the relation is as friendly as they would be while not angering the Americans (and to the extent Israel is becoming more independent in the last decade).
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  186. Dmitry says:
    @reiner Tor
    Essentially the risk for Russia is to be used the way Israel used South Africa - it could break the embargo (which was usually supported by Israel's supporters, who turned a blind eye to Israel's weapons deals with SA), so sold the South Africans weapons, but it didn't help South Africa survive.

    On the other hand, South Africa didn't collapse because of Israel, it collapsed mostly for internal reasons. I mean, Israel even helped them acquire nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

    So I think overall the SA-Israeli relationship was mutually beneficial (though you might term it as exploitative if you believe that Israel and foreign Jewry were one and the same entity - even so, had they refused to deal with Israel, it'd only have made their own position worse, so it was still beneficial for them to trade with Israel), and similarly probably the Russian-Israeli relationship is something like that.

    Again, depending on the size of the clandestine trade (perhaps negligible? perhaps very important military tech transfers? in between? I don't know) I'd probably be more forceful against Israel, but I agree with Anatoly that it's probably not worth for Russia to risk a wider conflict with Israel. The equation might be changing, especially if the ever larger-scale strikes in Syria will be repeated over and over again, but I'm not so sure.

    I didn't like Putin's handling of the Alleged Douma Chemical Attack Missile Strike Crisis, I think he was weak there. For example his diplomats were threatening with war, but then nothing happened. He should've just prepared for war, which would've been no threat (so no need to follow up). I floated a few weeks ago asking NATO governments (my original idea was just Estonia, but now I think all NATO governments should have been asked) in diplomatic notes about their behavior in the unfortunate event if an American military attack on Russian or allied (Syrian) forces led to a war between Russia and the US. After all, these governments routinely let the American air force use their airspaces or military bases.

    Similarly it was very weak of Putin to announce (or allow his subordinates to announce) supplying Syria with S-300 systems and then retract it. They should only talk about it publicly if they are already willing to go there.

    Similarly I think his handling of the sanctions was bad. After the US announced the sanctions on Rusal, Russia should've started to send weapons to Iran, maybe for use in Syria. I don't know.

    I'm sure the sanctions hurt Russia way more than the Israeli airstrikes. I'm also sure that they hurt way more deeply than any benefit from the Israeli relationship. So from a Russian perspective, it's obvious that any forceful action against Israel should for the moment be tied to the sanctions. Like, another extraterrestrial sanction against a Russian company, another weapons system (operated by Iranians or Russian mercenaries) sent to Syria.

    I’m sure the sanctions hurt Russia way more than the Israeli airstrikes. I’m also sure that they hurt way more deeply than any benefit from the Israeli relationship. So from a Russian perspective, it’s obvious that any forceful action against Israel should for the moment be tied to the sanctions.

    What’s the relation between the two things? Sanctions from the West, and relations with Israel.

    If Israel is destroying expensive equipment inside Syria, then there would be a response to try to regain the cost.

    But otherwise, Israel-Russia relationship is about the same as Israel-France relationship, Israel-India relationship, or Israel-UK relationship.

    Considering Israel’s closest ally is the United States, the relation is as friendly as they would be while not angering the Americans (and to the extent Israel is becoming more independent in the last decade).

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    What’s the relation between the two things? Sanctions from the West, and relations with Israel.
     
    I think you know the answer:

    Israel’s closest ally is the United States
     
    Not only that. The American government is truly deferential to Israel. President Trump's favorite daughter is famously a Jewish convert. Many of the most important anti-Russia warmongers in the US are also very much pro-Israel. Apparently they have two pet projects: hurting Russia and helping Israel. There's also a considerably strong Israeli lobby in the US.

    The idea is to let them know that hurting Russia will hurt Israel. So they need to be nicer to Russia or else Israel might suffer. Israel should be told that either they try to use their considerable influence they have with the present US administration and the mainstream Republican establishment to help Russia. (Bibi's relationship with the Democrats is more difficult - though I think he might have some levers there as well, due to Haim Saban.)

    You don't know what the results will be, but Israel is a small country. If it turns out that anti-Russian animus among the US elite is stronger and cannot be overcome by Israel, then Russia can repair relations later.

    By the way, at a minimum, during the Alleged Douma Chemical Attack Missile Strike Crisis, it should have been made discreetly known (perhaps it was?) that in the event of a nuclear war between the US and Russia, Israel will get a number of nukes even if it tries to stay neutral. That's the price of being "America's only friend in the Middle East".
    , @reiner Tor

    Israel-Russia relationship is about the same as Israel-France relationship, Israel-India relationship, or Israel-UK relationship.
     
    These are very different relationships. For example in the UK an Israeli diplomat plotted taking down British political figures:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/07/israeli-diplomat-shai-masot-caught-on-camera-plotting-to-take-down-uk-mps

    I highly doubt it'd be easy to make such clandestine recordings of Israeli diplomats in Russia. Or if such a recording surfaced, it might not be easily get forgotten by Putin.
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  187. @Dmitry

    I’m sure the sanctions hurt Russia way more than the Israeli airstrikes. I’m also sure that they hurt way more deeply than any benefit from the Israeli relationship. So from a Russian perspective, it’s obvious that any forceful action against Israel should for the moment be tied to the sanctions.
     
    What's the relation between the two things? Sanctions from the West, and relations with Israel.

    If Israel is destroying expensive equipment inside Syria, then there would be a response to try to regain the cost.

    But otherwise, Israel-Russia relationship is about the same as Israel-France relationship, Israel-India relationship, or Israel-UK relationship.

    Considering Israel's closest ally is the United States, the relation is as friendly as they would be while not angering the Americans (and to the extent Israel is becoming more independent in the last decade).

    What’s the relation between the two things? Sanctions from the West, and relations with Israel.

    I think you know the answer:

    Israel’s closest ally is the United States

    Not only that. The American government is truly deferential to Israel. President Trump’s favorite daughter is famously a Jewish convert. Many of the most important anti-Russia warmongers in the US are also very much pro-Israel. Apparently they have two pet projects: hurting Russia and helping Israel. There’s also a considerably strong Israeli lobby in the US.

    The idea is to let them know that hurting Russia will hurt Israel. So they need to be nicer to Russia or else Israel might suffer. Israel should be told that either they try to use their considerable influence they have with the present US administration and the mainstream Republican establishment to help Russia. (Bibi’s relationship with the Democrats is more difficult – though I think he might have some levers there as well, due to Haim Saban.)

    You don’t know what the results will be, but Israel is a small country. If it turns out that anti-Russian animus among the US elite is stronger and cannot be overcome by Israel, then Russia can repair relations later.

    By the way, at a minimum, during the Alleged Douma Chemical Attack Missile Strike Crisis, it should have been made discreetly known (perhaps it was?) that in the event of a nuclear war between the US and Russia, Israel will get a number of nukes even if it tries to stay neutral. That’s the price of being “America’s only friend in the Middle East”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    By the way, a corollary of the "threaten Israel to scare the US" idea is that hurting Israel for something Israel does might make the US more hostile.

    So: the US tries to strangulate the Russian economy by destroying Rusal -> Russia sends weapons to Hezbollah or something as a response, and publicly states that it was a response and that any further sanctions will mean more weapons to Hezbollah. This might make the US more cautious (and also easier for Trump to sell domestically why he's backtracking on sanctions!)

    But: Israel bombs some Syrian targets, and Russia retaliates militarily against Israel -> the US might as a result get more hostile (and perhaps even start newer sanctions against Russia). So Russia must be cautious here.

    Basically, Israel is like a bear cub, but hurting it might make the US, its mother bear, angry. On the other hand, a danger to the cub might make the mother more cautious and deter it from attacking the human, Russia.
    , @Dmitry
    A does something to B. And appropriate response for B is to hit C?

    We don't have a computer simulation to test what would happen. But I'm sure Americans would be happy that Israel comes even more into their gravity orbit and would side against Russia. Just as in the playground, A will be happy when B hits C - as it forces C unambiguously into their side in a conflict with B.

    Americans don't feel the particular vulnerability and risks of being in Israel. They live thousands of kilometers away eating Big Macs, don't risk anything physically, although they will cheer like for a favourite football team for Israel.

    The support and relation is a symbolic or vicarious one, so they don't care about risks in the way a person who is directly vulnerable.

    That's why Israel itself tries to go independently its way and ends up with very different positions of people like McCain, even while people like McCain's friendliness would be appreciated..

    They genuinely support Israel, but it has a more symbolic/religious reason, than of someone who has personal safety threatened.

    And also note people like McCain do not like Russia, even as Russian leadership has been e.g. pro-Israel and for a time even pro-West. They don't like Russia - not because they have different or the same friends - but because Russia is the challenger to their whole raison d'etre as unilateral powerbrokers and rulers of the waves.

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  188. @Dmitry

    I’m sure the sanctions hurt Russia way more than the Israeli airstrikes. I’m also sure that they hurt way more deeply than any benefit from the Israeli relationship. So from a Russian perspective, it’s obvious that any forceful action against Israel should for the moment be tied to the sanctions.
     
    What's the relation between the two things? Sanctions from the West, and relations with Israel.

    If Israel is destroying expensive equipment inside Syria, then there would be a response to try to regain the cost.

    But otherwise, Israel-Russia relationship is about the same as Israel-France relationship, Israel-India relationship, or Israel-UK relationship.

    Considering Israel's closest ally is the United States, the relation is as friendly as they would be while not angering the Americans (and to the extent Israel is becoming more independent in the last decade).

    Israel-Russia relationship is about the same as Israel-France relationship, Israel-India relationship, or Israel-UK relationship.

    These are very different relationships. For example in the UK an Israeli diplomat plotted taking down British political figures:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/07/israeli-diplomat-shai-masot-caught-on-camera-plotting-to-take-down-uk-mps

    I highly doubt it’d be easy to make such clandestine recordings of Israeli diplomats in Russia. Or if such a recording surfaced, it might not be easily get forgotten by Putin.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    There's difference in all the relations that you could analyse. I'm talking about the general or net result.

    In country-country, relations between Israel and Russia probably is a bit warmer, than with the UK (half of the Russian celebrities are buying property in Israel - whereas British people don't even know the country) . But in the strategic configuration, Israel and the UK are both important allies of America. Through this relation, they become much more closely connected in many security areas.

    The end result is somewhere vaguely in a similar area - as with many of the main other European powers.

    -

    Another paradox. Media in Russia is quite pro-Israel. Media in countries like Sweden and UK is very anti-Israel. And yet, countries like Sweden and UK are both in the same 'pro-America' camp as Israel.

    -

    It is an interesting topic to observe, that Israel is probably the closest US ally that does not follow the US positions on Russia in areas like UN.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_68/262

    -

    At the same time Russia votes against Israel at the UN. (And so does even India's Modi, who is supposed to be a close ally of Israel).

    -


    I'm surprised about the Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, etc, could not get into the reject group at the UN, when it came to not recognizing resolution Crimea.

    Also to see former Soviet territories like Moldova now in the Western bloc.
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  189. @reiner Tor

    What’s the relation between the two things? Sanctions from the West, and relations with Israel.
     
    I think you know the answer:

    Israel’s closest ally is the United States
     
    Not only that. The American government is truly deferential to Israel. President Trump's favorite daughter is famously a Jewish convert. Many of the most important anti-Russia warmongers in the US are also very much pro-Israel. Apparently they have two pet projects: hurting Russia and helping Israel. There's also a considerably strong Israeli lobby in the US.

    The idea is to let them know that hurting Russia will hurt Israel. So they need to be nicer to Russia or else Israel might suffer. Israel should be told that either they try to use their considerable influence they have with the present US administration and the mainstream Republican establishment to help Russia. (Bibi's relationship with the Democrats is more difficult - though I think he might have some levers there as well, due to Haim Saban.)

    You don't know what the results will be, but Israel is a small country. If it turns out that anti-Russian animus among the US elite is stronger and cannot be overcome by Israel, then Russia can repair relations later.

    By the way, at a minimum, during the Alleged Douma Chemical Attack Missile Strike Crisis, it should have been made discreetly known (perhaps it was?) that in the event of a nuclear war between the US and Russia, Israel will get a number of nukes even if it tries to stay neutral. That's the price of being "America's only friend in the Middle East".

    By the way, a corollary of the “threaten Israel to scare the US” idea is that hurting Israel for something Israel does might make the US more hostile.

    So: the US tries to strangulate the Russian economy by destroying Rusal -> Russia sends weapons to Hezbollah or something as a response, and publicly states that it was a response and that any further sanctions will mean more weapons to Hezbollah. This might make the US more cautious (and also easier for Trump to sell domestically why he’s backtracking on sanctions!)

    But: Israel bombs some Syrian targets, and Russia retaliates militarily against Israel -> the US might as a result get more hostile (and perhaps even start newer sanctions against Russia). So Russia must be cautious here.

    Basically, Israel is like a bear cub, but hurting it might make the US, its mother bear, angry. On the other hand, a danger to the cub might make the mother more cautious and deter it from attacking the human, Russia.

    Read More
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  190. Dmitry says:
    @reiner Tor

    What’s the relation between the two things? Sanctions from the West, and relations with Israel.
     
    I think you know the answer:

    Israel’s closest ally is the United States
     
    Not only that. The American government is truly deferential to Israel. President Trump's favorite daughter is famously a Jewish convert. Many of the most important anti-Russia warmongers in the US are also very much pro-Israel. Apparently they have two pet projects: hurting Russia and helping Israel. There's also a considerably strong Israeli lobby in the US.

    The idea is to let them know that hurting Russia will hurt Israel. So they need to be nicer to Russia or else Israel might suffer. Israel should be told that either they try to use their considerable influence they have with the present US administration and the mainstream Republican establishment to help Russia. (Bibi's relationship with the Democrats is more difficult - though I think he might have some levers there as well, due to Haim Saban.)

    You don't know what the results will be, but Israel is a small country. If it turns out that anti-Russian animus among the US elite is stronger and cannot be overcome by Israel, then Russia can repair relations later.

    By the way, at a minimum, during the Alleged Douma Chemical Attack Missile Strike Crisis, it should have been made discreetly known (perhaps it was?) that in the event of a nuclear war between the US and Russia, Israel will get a number of nukes even if it tries to stay neutral. That's the price of being "America's only friend in the Middle East".

    A does something to B. And appropriate response for B is to hit C?

    We don’t have a computer simulation to test what would happen. But I’m sure Americans would be happy that Israel comes even more into their gravity orbit and would side against Russia. Just as in the playground, A will be happy when B hits C – as it forces C unambiguously into their side in a conflict with B.

    Americans don’t feel the particular vulnerability and risks of being in Israel. They live thousands of kilometers away eating Big Macs, don’t risk anything physically, although they will cheer like for a favourite football team for Israel.

    The support and relation is a symbolic or vicarious one, so they don’t care about risks in the way a person who is directly vulnerable.

    That’s why Israel itself tries to go independently its way and ends up with very different positions of people like McCain, even while people like McCain’s friendliness would be appreciated..

    They genuinely support Israel, but it has a more symbolic/religious reason, than of someone who has personal safety threatened.

    And also note people like McCain do not like Russia, even as Russian leadership has been e.g. pro-Israel and for a time even pro-West. They don’t like Russia – not because they have different or the same friends – but because Russia is the challenger to their whole raison d’etre as unilateral powerbrokers and rulers of the waves.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Sheldon Adelson was the biggest Republican donor in 2012 and I think in 2016, too. He’s chummy with Netanyahu (and financed his campaigns), and his big important hobby project is Israel. Don’t you think he’d try to influence things if it got a bit dangerous for Israel?

    You assume no one in the US is much interested in the fate of Israel, but that’s just wrong.
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  191. Dmitry says:
    @reiner Tor

    Israel-Russia relationship is about the same as Israel-France relationship, Israel-India relationship, or Israel-UK relationship.
     
    These are very different relationships. For example in the UK an Israeli diplomat plotted taking down British political figures:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/07/israeli-diplomat-shai-masot-caught-on-camera-plotting-to-take-down-uk-mps

    I highly doubt it'd be easy to make such clandestine recordings of Israeli diplomats in Russia. Or if such a recording surfaced, it might not be easily get forgotten by Putin.

    There’s difference in all the relations that you could analyse. I’m talking about the general or net result.

    In country-country, relations between Israel and Russia probably is a bit warmer, than with the UK (half of the Russian celebrities are buying property in Israel – whereas British people don’t even know the country) . But in the strategic configuration, Israel and the UK are both important allies of America. Through this relation, they become much more closely connected in many security areas.

    The end result is somewhere vaguely in a similar area – as with many of the main other European powers.

    -

    Another paradox. Media in Russia is quite pro-Israel. Media in countries like Sweden and UK is very anti-Israel. And yet, countries like Sweden and UK are both in the same ‘pro-America’ camp as Israel.

    -

    It is an interesting topic to observe, that Israel is probably the closest US ally that does not follow the US positions on Russia in areas like UN.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_68/262

    -

    At the same time Russia votes against Israel at the UN. (And so does even India’s Modi, who is supposed to be a close ally of Israel).

    -

    I’m surprised about the Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, etc, could not get into the reject group at the UN, when it came to not recognizing resolution Crimea.

    Also to see former Soviet territories like Moldova now in the Western bloc.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Kazakhstan is easy to explain: they probably fear some Russian designs on their own territory.
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  192. @Dmitry
    A does something to B. And appropriate response for B is to hit C?

    We don't have a computer simulation to test what would happen. But I'm sure Americans would be happy that Israel comes even more into their gravity orbit and would side against Russia. Just as in the playground, A will be happy when B hits C - as it forces C unambiguously into their side in a conflict with B.

    Americans don't feel the particular vulnerability and risks of being in Israel. They live thousands of kilometers away eating Big Macs, don't risk anything physically, although they will cheer like for a favourite football team for Israel.

    The support and relation is a symbolic or vicarious one, so they don't care about risks in the way a person who is directly vulnerable.

    That's why Israel itself tries to go independently its way and ends up with very different positions of people like McCain, even while people like McCain's friendliness would be appreciated..

    They genuinely support Israel, but it has a more symbolic/religious reason, than of someone who has personal safety threatened.

    And also note people like McCain do not like Russia, even as Russian leadership has been e.g. pro-Israel and for a time even pro-West. They don't like Russia - not because they have different or the same friends - but because Russia is the challenger to their whole raison d'etre as unilateral powerbrokers and rulers of the waves.

    Sheldon Adelson was the biggest Republican donor in 2012 and I think in 2016, too. He’s chummy with Netanyahu (and financed his campaigns), and his big important hobby project is Israel. Don’t you think he’d try to influence things if it got a bit dangerous for Israel?

    You assume no one in the US is much interested in the fate of Israel, but that’s just wrong.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    On the other hand, Hitler tried a similar strategy: he openly threatened that in the event of a US entry into the war (which he assumed would be the result of Jewish lobby activities) he would exterminate European Jewry. But it didn’t have the intended effect, because that’s not how diffuse human groups and group psychology work. The effect of Hitler’s policy was to make the Jews hate Hitler even more and push for war even more strongly.

    So maybe Putin is smart not to push this angle.
    , @Dmitry
    Of course these Americans are very strong friends of Israel, but I will guess not in a way where they care about things like 'Israel's net diplomatic position with other countries', especially with countries they themselves are not very friendly with.

    I would guess- they will be happy to have Israel (and love it even more) as an ally against Russia. Israel itself will try to not be involved and more neutral.

    It's the psychology of international relations. For example, do you think Russia will be happy if Serbia would start getting more rejected or sanctioned by the West, or rather supported by it and integrated into the EU as it looks like?

    -

    I was just watching 60 minutes now. It is amazing how they report the deaths of protesters (using strong hyperbole about 'slaughter of protesters') in the Gaza border entirely as a kind of intentional American created chaos. The whole message is that it is a disaster created by unilateral American actions (as if this wasn't happening every week for the last month before). At some point we can say that the blaming everything bad in the world on America can 'go too far'.
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  193. @Dmitry
    There's difference in all the relations that you could analyse. I'm talking about the general or net result.

    In country-country, relations between Israel and Russia probably is a bit warmer, than with the UK (half of the Russian celebrities are buying property in Israel - whereas British people don't even know the country) . But in the strategic configuration, Israel and the UK are both important allies of America. Through this relation, they become much more closely connected in many security areas.

    The end result is somewhere vaguely in a similar area - as with many of the main other European powers.

    -

    Another paradox. Media in Russia is quite pro-Israel. Media in countries like Sweden and UK is very anti-Israel. And yet, countries like Sweden and UK are both in the same 'pro-America' camp as Israel.

    -

    It is an interesting topic to observe, that Israel is probably the closest US ally that does not follow the US positions on Russia in areas like UN.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_68/262

    -

    At the same time Russia votes against Israel at the UN. (And so does even India's Modi, who is supposed to be a close ally of Israel).

    -


    I'm surprised about the Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, etc, could not get into the reject group at the UN, when it came to not recognizing resolution Crimea.

    Also to see former Soviet territories like Moldova now in the Western bloc.

    Kazakhstan is easy to explain: they probably fear some Russian designs on their own territory.

    Read More
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  194. @reiner Tor
    Sheldon Adelson was the biggest Republican donor in 2012 and I think in 2016, too. He’s chummy with Netanyahu (and financed his campaigns), and his big important hobby project is Israel. Don’t you think he’d try to influence things if it got a bit dangerous for Israel?

    You assume no one in the US is much interested in the fate of Israel, but that’s just wrong.

    On the other hand, Hitler tried a similar strategy: he openly threatened that in the event of a US entry into the war (which he assumed would be the result of Jewish lobby activities) he would exterminate European Jewry. But it didn’t have the intended effect, because that’s not how diffuse human groups and group psychology work. The effect of Hitler’s policy was to make the Jews hate Hitler even more and push for war even more strongly.

    So maybe Putin is smart not to push this angle.

    Read More
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  195. Dmitry says:
    @reiner Tor
    Sheldon Adelson was the biggest Republican donor in 2012 and I think in 2016, too. He’s chummy with Netanyahu (and financed his campaigns), and his big important hobby project is Israel. Don’t you think he’d try to influence things if it got a bit dangerous for Israel?

    You assume no one in the US is much interested in the fate of Israel, but that’s just wrong.

    Of course these Americans are very strong friends of Israel, but I will guess not in a way where they care about things like ‘Israel’s net diplomatic position with other countries’, especially with countries they themselves are not very friendly with.

    I would guess- they will be happy to have Israel (and love it even more) as an ally against Russia. Israel itself will try to not be involved and more neutral.

    It’s the psychology of international relations. For example, do you think Russia will be happy if Serbia would start getting more rejected or sanctioned by the West, or rather supported by it and integrated into the EU as it looks like?

    -

    I was just watching 60 minutes now. It is amazing how they report the deaths of protesters (using strong hyperbole about ‘slaughter of protesters’) in the Gaza border entirely as a kind of intentional American created chaos. The whole message is that it is a disaster created by unilateral American actions (as if this wasn’t happening every week for the last month before). At some point we can say that the blaming everything bad in the world on America can ‘go too far’.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The question is, would Sheldon Adelson care?

    Does he have the phone numbers of all the important politicians?

    Could he influence them?
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  196. @Dmitry
    Of course these Americans are very strong friends of Israel, but I will guess not in a way where they care about things like 'Israel's net diplomatic position with other countries', especially with countries they themselves are not very friendly with.

    I would guess- they will be happy to have Israel (and love it even more) as an ally against Russia. Israel itself will try to not be involved and more neutral.

    It's the psychology of international relations. For example, do you think Russia will be happy if Serbia would start getting more rejected or sanctioned by the West, or rather supported by it and integrated into the EU as it looks like?

    -

    I was just watching 60 minutes now. It is amazing how they report the deaths of protesters (using strong hyperbole about 'slaughter of protesters') in the Gaza border entirely as a kind of intentional American created chaos. The whole message is that it is a disaster created by unilateral American actions (as if this wasn't happening every week for the last month before). At some point we can say that the blaming everything bad in the world on America can 'go too far'.

    The question is, would Sheldon Adelson care?

    Does he have the phone numbers of all the important politicians?

    Could he influence them?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    I don't see why - reading his background on Wikipedia, although who knows - he would care about deterioration of Israel Russian relation.

    He has a close relation with the Chinese government, as his main business is in a Chinese territory of Macau. But it does not seem he has any connection to Russia.

    The oligarchs who would be upset in deterioration of Israel Russian relation are the ones living in Moscow, not the ones living in Washington DC (many of which would probably welcome Israel to join their side in some 'new cold war').
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  197. utu says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Karlin’s arguments just like Reiner Tor’s were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice.
     
    I agree. The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel seem to horrify AK for some reason. When I said that Russia should consider economic sanctions on Israel (by ending pension payments for example), he opposed even that.


    Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can’t do politics if you want to be loved.
     
    I don't believe that is the case. Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it's just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.

    Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it’s just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.

    What might be the reason? The simplest one that does not invoke hidden allegiances and so on is that it is ineluctably systemic. Anybody who subscribes to IQism and some form of Libertarianism which are basically post Enlightenment mechanical and post Darwin biological belief systems w/o room for higher values of culture and religion will be easily demoralized with the meme of Jewish superior IQ and Jewish evident domination which he will not be able to counteract and basically won’t be able to find any reason that biologically inferior (lower IQ) ‘species’ like Russians should dominate or even survive as Russians. Unlike the Han chauvinist Duke of Qin who wants Han Chinese to survive and dominate regardless of their culture because he sees them biologically superior (higher IQ). Correction, I do not really know what Duke of Qin thinks.

    Ideas have consequences and impoverished and banal ideas like IQism and Libertarianism have only bad consequences. It is possible they are being promoted for this exactly reason among young and impressionable young white boys in search of complete and consistent belief system. Fortunately women are more resistant to them probably for the same reason they do not like sci-fi as much as boys. These ideas keep boys longer in the sand box and the make belief world and they are debilitating because in this determinist world nothing really depends on them. In the deterministic Calvinism you could through hard work only after long time of effort find out if you were the chosen one but here a ten min IQ test will tell you with 50% probability that you are not the chosen one so just submit, bend over and and prepare for the life time of giving the blow jobs.

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  198. Dmitry says:
    @reiner Tor
    The question is, would Sheldon Adelson care?

    Does he have the phone numbers of all the important politicians?

    Could he influence them?

    I don’t see why – reading his background on Wikipedia, although who knows – he would care about deterioration of Israel Russian relation.

    He has a close relation with the Chinese government, as his main business is in a Chinese territory of Macau. But it does not seem he has any connection to Russia.

    The oligarchs who would be upset in deterioration of Israel Russian relation are the ones living in Moscow, not the ones living in Washington DC (many of which would probably welcome Israel to join their side in some ‘new cold war’).

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I wasn’t talking about “deterioration of Israel Russian relation,” instead I was talking about punishing Israelis or Israelis’ and their supporters’ pet projects.

    Sending weapons to Iran would seem to be something about which Sheldon Adelson would perhaps care, because anti-Iranian foreign policy (including perhaps bombing Iran) has been his pet project.

    Similarly, sending weapons to Hezbollah would be perceived as a very bad development for Israel, and no doubt Adelson would not like it at all.

    It’s possible that he wouldn’t use his influence to stop policies which result in such Russian responses, or it’s also possible that he’d get infuriated and start pushing for even harder anti-Russian policies, but there is at least a possibility that such a Russian response would make him opposed to further sanctions against Russia (so as to avoid further arming of anti-Israel actors).
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  199. @Dmitry
    I don't see why - reading his background on Wikipedia, although who knows - he would care about deterioration of Israel Russian relation.

    He has a close relation with the Chinese government, as his main business is in a Chinese territory of Macau. But it does not seem he has any connection to Russia.

    The oligarchs who would be upset in deterioration of Israel Russian relation are the ones living in Moscow, not the ones living in Washington DC (many of which would probably welcome Israel to join their side in some 'new cold war').

    I wasn’t talking about “deterioration of Israel Russian relation,” instead I was talking about punishing Israelis or Israelis’ and their supporters’ pet projects.

    Sending weapons to Iran would seem to be something about which Sheldon Adelson would perhaps care, because anti-Iranian foreign policy (including perhaps bombing Iran) has been his pet project.

    Similarly, sending weapons to Hezbollah would be perceived as a very bad development for Israel, and no doubt Adelson would not like it at all.

    It’s possible that he wouldn’t use his influence to stop policies which result in such Russian responses, or it’s also possible that he’d get infuriated and start pushing for even harder anti-Russian policies, but there is at least a possibility that such a Russian response would make him opposed to further sanctions against Russia (so as to avoid further arming of anti-Israel actors).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Anti-Israel actions from Russia, would soon result in bringing Israel into an anti-Russia bloc (as was the case in the years 1951-1991).

    But I can't see how many American friends of Israel (you mention the famous oligarch Adelson) would respond to anti-Israel actions from Russia, with pro-Russia actions?

    Many of the American friends of Israel are themselves not pro-Russia, but anti-Russia. People like McCain (who is anti-Russian and pro-Israel) probably would welcome return to the pre-1991 power blocs that anti-Israel actions would lead to, and see just a slight weakening of Russia's diplomatic position (as Israel would be forced to join America's side on issues like Crimea).

    This said, these actions could improve Russia's position with Muslim countries, as well as with anti-Israel and Muslim demographics living inside the West.

    However, the Kremlin already manages to achieve that popularity (without the costs) with these demographics in the West, by using channels like RT (which has an unfriendly kind of coverage of Israel for English audiences, unlike Russian federal channels), and this way cleverly gains the public relations benefit with Muslim and anti-Israel Western demographics, without the costs of annoying the Israelis (who are only watching Russian-language channels, or broadcasting them on their satellite packages).

    Another thing about popularity in the Muslim and Arab world, is that Putin already has it. Many Middle Eastern populations see him like a teenage girl sees Justin Bieber. It's still not clear - beyond weapon sales - how you 'cash' this popularity 'in the bank'.
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  200. Dmitry says:
    @reiner Tor
    I wasn’t talking about “deterioration of Israel Russian relation,” instead I was talking about punishing Israelis or Israelis’ and their supporters’ pet projects.

    Sending weapons to Iran would seem to be something about which Sheldon Adelson would perhaps care, because anti-Iranian foreign policy (including perhaps bombing Iran) has been his pet project.

    Similarly, sending weapons to Hezbollah would be perceived as a very bad development for Israel, and no doubt Adelson would not like it at all.

    It’s possible that he wouldn’t use his influence to stop policies which result in such Russian responses, or it’s also possible that he’d get infuriated and start pushing for even harder anti-Russian policies, but there is at least a possibility that such a Russian response would make him opposed to further sanctions against Russia (so as to avoid further arming of anti-Israel actors).

    Anti-Israel actions from Russia, would soon result in bringing Israel into an anti-Russia bloc (as was the case in the years 1951-1991).

    But I can’t see how many American friends of Israel (you mention the famous oligarch Adelson) would respond to anti-Israel actions from Russia, with pro-Russia actions?

    Many of the American friends of Israel are themselves not pro-Russia, but anti-Russia. People like McCain (who is anti-Russian and pro-Israel) probably would welcome return to the pre-1991 power blocs that anti-Israel actions would lead to, and see just a slight weakening of Russia’s diplomatic position (as Israel would be forced to join America’s side on issues like Crimea).

    This said, these actions could improve Russia’s position with Muslim countries, as well as with anti-Israel and Muslim demographics living inside the West.

    However, the Kremlin already manages to achieve that popularity (without the costs) with these demographics in the West, by using channels like RT (which has an unfriendly kind of coverage of Israel for English audiences, unlike Russian federal channels), and this way cleverly gains the public relations benefit with Muslim and anti-Israel Western demographics, without the costs of annoying the Israelis (who are only watching Russian-language channels, or broadcasting them on their satellite packages).

    Another thing about popularity in the Muslim and Arab world, is that Putin already has it. Many Middle Eastern populations see him like a teenage girl sees Justin Bieber. It’s still not clear – beyond weapon sales – how you ‘cash’ this popularity ‘in the bank’.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Thinking it over, you might be correct, and probably I was wrong.

    The best analogy might be what I wrote in #194. So anti-Israel actions by Russia would only mean more fanatical anti-Russian activism by Israel's partisans.

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  201. @Dmitry
    Anti-Israel actions from Russia, would soon result in bringing Israel into an anti-Russia bloc (as was the case in the years 1951-1991).

    But I can't see how many American friends of Israel (you mention the famous oligarch Adelson) would respond to anti-Israel actions from Russia, with pro-Russia actions?

    Many of the American friends of Israel are themselves not pro-Russia, but anti-Russia. People like McCain (who is anti-Russian and pro-Israel) probably would welcome return to the pre-1991 power blocs that anti-Israel actions would lead to, and see just a slight weakening of Russia's diplomatic position (as Israel would be forced to join America's side on issues like Crimea).

    This said, these actions could improve Russia's position with Muslim countries, as well as with anti-Israel and Muslim demographics living inside the West.

    However, the Kremlin already manages to achieve that popularity (without the costs) with these demographics in the West, by using channels like RT (which has an unfriendly kind of coverage of Israel for English audiences, unlike Russian federal channels), and this way cleverly gains the public relations benefit with Muslim and anti-Israel Western demographics, without the costs of annoying the Israelis (who are only watching Russian-language channels, or broadcasting them on their satellite packages).

    Another thing about popularity in the Muslim and Arab world, is that Putin already has it. Many Middle Eastern populations see him like a teenage girl sees Justin Bieber. It's still not clear - beyond weapon sales - how you 'cash' this popularity 'in the bank'.

    Thinking it over, you might be correct, and probably I was wrong.

    The best analogy might be what I wrote in #194. So anti-Israel actions by Russia would only mean more fanatical anti-Russian activism by Israel’s partisans.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Even if you were right and the consequences somehow resulted to lifting American sanctions - in reality I don't believe countries's foreign policies are ever so 'nimble' or 'subtle'.

    The leadership are trapped by their past words and actions. Russia's Middle East policy spent the last decade telling Israel how they would protect it, or at least are friendly, good hearted partners.

    There's a reason that intervention in Syria (aside from this incompetent lack of air co-ordination with Turkey in November 2015), went so smoothly and people were so calm. Everyone knows that Russian aviation was there to bomb jihadists, not to create some new empire (or steal the Middle East oil, as Trump joked to do in his campaign).

    Also in terms of domestic politics, people don't complain because it's a low-cost intervention to bomb jihadists, not to start creating new enemies. The friction with Turkey was already an embarrassment. Some of the promises, like to improve the reputation in the West, did not result. But the overall test was passed - showing they are capable of a competent, modern, anti-terrorist operation. (Now the actual goals were a bit larger like saving Assad in which the Kremlin had invested - but that was not part of the marketing).

    , @Johann Ricke

    The best analogy might be what I wrote in #194. So anti-Israel actions by Russia would only mean more fanatical anti-Russian activism by Israel’s partisans.
     
    I'm not sure where you're getting this "fanatical" sense from. It's not from the American left, which is "opposed" to Russia in the sense of wanting to levy economic sanctions, mainly because they think Putin is anti-pervert -LGBT, but definitely doesn't want to arm Ukraine or Chechen rebels, let alone fight a war with Russia. And it's not from the American right, which wants to prevent Russia from annexing any more territory - again via economic sanctions and at most the provision of weaponry to Ukraine. Fanatical would be wanting to launch a nuclear first strike against Moscow.
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  202. Dmitry says:
    @reiner Tor
    Thinking it over, you might be correct, and probably I was wrong.

    The best analogy might be what I wrote in #194. So anti-Israel actions by Russia would only mean more fanatical anti-Russian activism by Israel's partisans.

    Even if you were right and the consequences somehow resulted to lifting American sanctions – in reality I don’t believe countries’s foreign policies are ever so ‘nimble’ or ‘subtle’.

    The leadership are trapped by their past words and actions. Russia’s Middle East policy spent the last decade telling Israel how they would protect it, or at least are friendly, good hearted partners.

    There’s a reason that intervention in Syria (aside from this incompetent lack of air co-ordination with Turkey in November 2015), went so smoothly and people were so calm. Everyone knows that Russian aviation was there to bomb jihadists, not to create some new empire (or steal the Middle East oil, as Trump joked to do in his campaign).

    Also in terms of domestic politics, people don’t complain because it’s a low-cost intervention to bomb jihadists, not to start creating new enemies. The friction with Turkey was already an embarrassment. Some of the promises, like to improve the reputation in the West, did not result. But the overall test was passed – showing they are capable of a competent, modern, anti-terrorist operation. (Now the actual goals were a bit larger like saving Assad in which the Kremlin had invested – but that was not part of the marketing).

    Read More
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  203. @reiner Tor
    Thinking it over, you might be correct, and probably I was wrong.

    The best analogy might be what I wrote in #194. So anti-Israel actions by Russia would only mean more fanatical anti-Russian activism by Israel's partisans.

    The best analogy might be what I wrote in #194. So anti-Israel actions by Russia would only mean more fanatical anti-Russian activism by Israel’s partisans.

    I’m not sure where you’re getting this “fanatical” sense from. It’s not from the American left, which is “opposed” to Russia in the sense of wanting to levy economic sanctions, mainly because they think Putin is anti-pervert -LGBT, but definitely doesn’t want to arm Ukraine or Chechen rebels, let alone fight a war with Russia. And it’s not from the American right, which wants to prevent Russia from annexing any more territory – again via economic sanctions and at most the provision of weaponry to Ukraine. Fanatical would be wanting to launch a nuclear first strike against Moscow.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Fanatical would be wanting to launch a nuclear first strike against Moscow.
     
    That's a pretty high bar.

    Fanatical means someone who is anti-Russian regardless of circumstances or their own national interests and is willing to risk a nuclear war in pursuing the anti-Russian agenda. For example by enforcing no-fly zones over Syria, or strikes against Russian forces in Syria. I have seen suggestions to strike Russian forces in the Crimea. These ideas are pretty insane, if you ask me. People holding those insane ideas can accurately be described as fanatical.
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  204. @Johann Ricke

    The best analogy might be what I wrote in #194. So anti-Israel actions by Russia would only mean more fanatical anti-Russian activism by Israel’s partisans.
     
    I'm not sure where you're getting this "fanatical" sense from. It's not from the American left, which is "opposed" to Russia in the sense of wanting to levy economic sanctions, mainly because they think Putin is anti-pervert -LGBT, but definitely doesn't want to arm Ukraine or Chechen rebels, let alone fight a war with Russia. And it's not from the American right, which wants to prevent Russia from annexing any more territory - again via economic sanctions and at most the provision of weaponry to Ukraine. Fanatical would be wanting to launch a nuclear first strike against Moscow.

    Fanatical would be wanting to launch a nuclear first strike against Moscow.

    That’s a pretty high bar.

    Fanatical means someone who is anti-Russian regardless of circumstances or their own national interests and is willing to risk a nuclear war in pursuing the anti-Russian agenda. For example by enforcing no-fly zones over Syria, or strikes against Russian forces in Syria. I have seen suggestions to strike Russian forces in the Crimea. These ideas are pretty insane, if you ask me. People holding those insane ideas can accurately be described as fanatical.

    Read More
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