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March 2018 will go down in history as a truly historical month

March 1st, Vladimir Putin makes his historical address to the Russian Federal Assembly.

March 4th, Sergei Skripal, a former UK spy, is allegedly poisoned in the UK.

March 8th, British officials accuse Russia of using nerve gas to attempt to murder Sergei Skripal.

March 12th, Theresa May officially blames Russia for the poisoning and gives Russia a 24-hour ultimatum to justify herself; the Russians ignore that ultimatum. The same day, the US representative at the UNSC threatens to attack Syria even without a UNSC authorization.

March 13th, Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov warned that “in case there is a threat to the lives of our military, the Russian Armed Force will take retaliatory measures both over the missiles and carriers that will use them”. The same day Chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff, Deputy Defense Minister, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov had a phone conversation with Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the United States’ Joint Chiefs of Staff.

March 15th, the UK blocked Russia’s draft UN Security Council statement on Skripal poisoning case asking for an “urgent and civilized investigation” into the Skripal case. The US, UK, France, and Germany issue a statement backing the UK and blaming Russia. The UK Defence Minister tells Russia to “shut up and go away”.

March 16th, Major General Igor Konashenkov calls the British Defense Minister an “uncouth shrew” and “intellectual impotent”.

March 17th, Russian Generals warned that the US is preparing a chemical false flag attack in Syria

March 18th, Putin overwhelmingly wins the Presidential election. The same day, General Votel, Commander of CENTCOM declares in a testimony to the Armed Services Committee that differences with Russia should be settled “through political and diplomatic channels”. When asked whether it would be correct to say that “with Russia and Iran’s help, Assad has won the Civil War in Syria?” General Votel replied “I do not think that is too — that is too strong of a statement. I think they have provided him the wherewithal to — to be ascendant at this point”.

March 19th, the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council issues a statement fully backing the UK.

March 21st The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summons all ambassadors to a briefing on the Skripal case. The language used by the Russian representative at this briefing possibly is the bluntest used by any Russian (or even Soviet) official towards the West since WWII. The French, Swedish and US representative at the meeting all stood up to declare their “solidarity” with the UK.

March 22nd, The Chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff, Deputy Defense Minister, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov had another phone conversation with Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the United States’ Joint Chiefs of Staff.

So what is really going on here? Surely nobody seriously believes that the Brits really think that the Russians had any motive to try to kill Skripal or, for that matter, if they had a motive, that they would do it in such a stupid manner? And what’s the deal with Syria anyway? Is the US going to execute their false flag and bomb?

I think that at this point we should not get bogged down in the details of all this. There is a forest behind these trees. What matters most now, is that the most powerful factions of the AngloZionist Empire’s ruling elites are making a concerted effort to create a unified anti-Russian coalition. In this regard it is quite telling that the US, France, and Germany issued a statement on March 15th without even bothering to consult with their so-called “allies” in NATO or the EU. You can immediately tell “who is boss” in those crisis situations when the rest of the Euro-riffraff simply doesn’t matter (poor East Europeans with their delusions about being appreciated or even respected by the West!). Furthermore, it is quite clear that in this case, the “Anglo” component of the AngloZionist Empire is far more involved than the Zionist one, at least insofar as the front of the stage is concerned (behind the scenes the Neocons are seething at Trump for calling Putin to congratulate him and offer negotiations). I think that a number of crucial developments forced the US and the UK into trying to strong-arm the rest of the western nations to “circle the wagons” around the Empire:

  1. The US humiliatingly failed in its attempts to frighten and force the DPRK into submission
  2. The AngloZionists have lost the civil war in Syria
  3. The UK and the rest of the NATO are becoming militarily irrelevant
  4. The Ukraine has crashed and is burning and a Ukronazi attack on the Donbass is most likely
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Neocons, Russia 
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Assuming mankind finds a way not to destroy itself in the near future and assuming that there will still be historians in the 22nd or 23rd centuries, I bet you that they will look at the AngloZionist Empire and see the four following characteristics as some of its core features: lies, willful ignorance, hypocrisy, and hysterics. To illustrate my point I will use the recent “Skripal nerve-gas assassination” story as it really encompasses all of these characteristics.

I won’t even bother debunking the official nonsense here as others have done a very good job of pointing out the idiocy of that narrative. If you are truly capable of believing that “Putin” (that is the current collective designator for the Evil Empire of Mordor threatening all of western civilization) would order the murder of a man whom a Russian military court sentenced to only 13 years in jail (as opposed to life or death) and who was subsequently released as part of a swap with the USA, you can stop reading right now and go back to watching TV. I personally have neither the energy nor the inclination to even discuss such a self-evidently absurd theory. No, what I do want to do is use this story as a perfect illustration of the kind of society we now all live in looked at from a moral point of view. I realize that we live in a largely value-free society where moral norms have been replaced by ideological orthodoxy, but that is just one more reason for me to write about what is taking place precisely focusing on the moral dimensions of current events.

Lies and the unapologetic denial of reality:

In a 2015 article entitled “A society of sexually frustrated Pinocchios” I wrote the following:

I see a direct cause and effect relationship between the denial of moral reality and the denial of physical reality. I can’t prove that, of course, but here is my thesis: Almost from day one, the early western civilization began by, shall we say, taking liberties with the truth, which it could bend, adapt, massage and repackage to serve the ideological agenda of the day. It was not quite the full-blown and unapologetic relativism of the 19th century yet, but it was an important first step. With “principles” such as the end justifies the means and the wholesale violation of the Ten Commandants all “for the greater glory of God” the western civilization got cozy with the idea that there was no real, objective truth, only the subjective perception or even representation each person might have thereof. Fast forward another 10 centuries or so and we end up with the modern “Gayropa” (as Europe is now often referred to in Russia): not only has God been declared ‘dead’ and all notions of right and wrong dismissed as “cultural”, but even objective reality has now been rendered contingent upon political expediency and ideological imperatives.

I went on to quote George Orwell by reminding how he defined “doublethink” in his book 1984:

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it (…) To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality

and I concluded by saying that “The necessary corollary from this state of mind is that only appearances matter, not reality”.

This is exactly what we are observing; not only in the silly Skripal nerve-gas assassination story but also in all the rest of the Russophobic nonsense produced by the AngloZionist propaganda machine including the “Litvinenko polonium murder” and the “Yushchenko dioxin poisoning“. The fact that neither nerve-gas, nor polonium nor dioxin are in any way effective murder weapons does not matter in the least: a simple drive-by shooting, street-stabbing or, better, any “accident” is both easier to arrange and impossible to trace. Fancy assassination methods are used when access to the target is very hard or impossible (as was the case with Ibn al-Khattab, whose assassination the Russians were more than happy to take credit for; this might also have been the case with the death of Yasser Arafat). But the best way of murdering somebody is to simply make the body disappear, making any subsequent investigation almost impossible. Finally, you can always subcontract the assassination to somebody else like, for example, when the CIA tried and failed, to murder Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Hussain Fadlallah by subcontracting his bombing to its local “Christian” allies, killing over 80 innocent people in the process. There is plenty of common crime in the UK and to get somebody to rob and stab Skripal would have probably been the easiest version. That’s assuming that the Russians had any reason to want him dead, which they self-evidently didn’t.

But here is the important thing: every single criminal or intelligence specialist in the West understands all of the above. But that does not stop the Ziomedia from publishing articles like this one “A Brief History of Attempted Russian Assassinations by Poison” which also lists people poisoned by Russians:

  • Skripal by nerve gas
  • Litvinenko by polonium
  • Kara-Murza poisoned not once, but TWICE, by an unknown poison, he survived!
  • Markov poisoned by ricin and the Bulgarians with “speculated KGB assistance”
  • Khattab by sarin or a sarin-derivative
  • Yushchenko by dioxin
  • Perepilichny by “a rare, toxic flower, gelsemium” (I kid you not, check the article!)
  • Moskalenko by mercury
  • Politkovskaya who was shot, but who once felt “ill after drinking some tea that she believed contained poison”

The only possible conclusion from this list is this: there is some kind of secret lab in Russia where completely incompetent chemists try every poison known to man, not on rats or on mice, but on high profile AngloZionist-supported political activists, preferably before an important political event.


By the way, the gas allegedly used in the attack, “Novichok”, was manufactured in Uzbekistan and the cleanup of the factory producing it was made by, you guessed it, a US company. Just saying…

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For those interested in the military implications of the recent revelations by Vladimir Putin about new Russian weapon systems I would recommend the excellent article entitled “The Implications of Russia’s New Weapon Systems” by Andrei Martyanov who offers a superb analysis of what these new weapons mean for the US and, especially, the US Navy. What I want to do here is something a little different and look at some of the more political consequences of these latest revelations.

The first two of the five stages of grief: denial and anger

Right now, the AngloZionists are undergoing something very similar to the first two of the Five Stages of the Kübler-Ross Grief model: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Mostly this manifests itself in criticisms of the quality of the videos presented by Putin and by simple incantations about “these weapons only exist on paper”. This is absolutely normal and will not last too long. That kind of denial is a normal coping mechanism whose primary function is to “soften the blow”, but not something one can base any actual policy or strategy on. However, it is worth looking into why exactly these revelations triggered such a powerful reaction as things are a little more complicated than might first appear.

First, a stunning revelation of sorts: the deployment of these weapons systems does not fundamentally change the nuclear balance between Russia and the US, at least not in terms of first strike stability (for a detailed discussion see here). Yes, it is true that the US nuclear arsenal is becoming increasingly antiquated, especially when compared with the Russian one and, yes, it is true that in an entire family of technologies the Russians are now clearly many years ahead of the US. But no, this does not mean that Russia could get away with a first strike against the US (neither could, for that matter, the US could get away with a first strike against Russia). Both countries possess more than enough nuclear warhead delivery capabilities even if their forces were to be reduced by a full 90% in any putative disarming (counterforce) strike. The point of Putin’s warning was not at all to threaten the West or to suggest that Russia could prosecute a successful nuclear war, far from it! First and foremost, his speech was a much-needed case of public psychotherapy. You could say that his intention was to force the Empire to eventually enter the next, more constructive, three stages of grief: bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Bringing a sense of reality to a deeply delusional Empire

The leaders of the Empire, along with their brainwashed ideological drones, live in a world completely detached from reality. This is why Martyanov writes that the US “still continues to reside in her bubble which insulates her from any outside voices of reason and peace” and that Putin’s speech aimed at “coercing America’s elites into, if not peace, at least into some form of sanity, given that they are currently completely detached from the geopolitical, military and economic realities of a newly emerging world ”. Martyanov explains that:

American power elites, the majority of whom have never served a day in uniform nor ever attended serious military academic institutions and whose expertise on serious military-technological and geopolitical issues is limited to a couple of seminars on nuclear weapons and, in the best case scenario, the efforts of the Congressional Research Service are simply not qualified to grasp the complexity, the nature, and application of military force. They simply have no reference points. Yet, being a product of the American pop-military culture, also known as military porn and propaganda, these people—this collection of lawyers, political “scientists”, sociologists and journalists who dominate the American strategic kitchen which cooks non-stop delusional geopolitical and military doctrines, can understand one thing for sure, and that is when their poor dears get a bulls-eye on their backs or foreheads.

The fact that in the real world these elites have had a bulls-eye on their backs for decades doesn’t change the fact that they also managed to convince themselves that they could remove that bulls-eye by means of withdrawing from the ABM treaty and by surrounding Russia with anti-missile launchers. The fact that some (many? most?) US politicians realized, at least in the back of their minds, that their ABM systems would never truly protect the US from a Russian counter-strike did not really matter because there were some uniquely American psychological factors which made the notion of an ABM system irresistibly attractive:

1) An ABM system promised the US impunity: impunity is, along with military superiority, one of the great American myths (as discussed here). From Reagan with this “weapons which kill weapons” to the current crisis in Korea, Americans have always strived for impunity for their actions abroad: let all countries drown in an ocean of fire, murder and mayhem as long as our “homeland” remains the untouchable sacrosanct citadel. Since WWII Americans have killed many millions of people abroad, but when 9/11 came (nevermind that it was obviously a false flag) the country went into something like clinical shock from the loss of about 3’000 innocent civilians. Soviet, and then later, Russian nuclear weapons promised to deliver many tens of millions of deaths if the USSR/Russia was attacked and that is why spinning the fairy tale about an ABM “shield” was so appealing even if it was technologically speaking either a pipe-dream (Reagan’s “Star Wars”) or an extremely limited system capable of stopping maybe a few missiles at most (the current ABM system in Europe). Again, facts don’t matter at all, at least not in American politics or in the US collective psyche.

2) An ABM system promised a huge financial bonanza for the fantastically corrupt US Military-Industrial Complex for which millions of Americans work and which made many of them fantastically rich. Frankly, I suspect that many (most?) folks involved in the ABM programs fully realized that this was a waste of time, but as long as they were getting their bank accounts filled with money, they simply did not care: hey, they pay me – I will take it!

3) The US military culture never had much of an emphasis on personal courage or self-sacrifice (for obvious reasons). The various variations of the ABM fairy tale make it possible for Americans to believe that the next war would be mostly fought by pressing buttons and relying on computers. And if real bombs start falling, let them fall somewhere else, preferably on some remote brown people who, well, ain’t quite as precious to God and humanity as us, the White “indispensable nation”.

Add to this a quasi-religious belief (a dogma, really) in the myth of American technological superiority and you understand that the Russian leaders began to realize that their US counterparts were gradually forgetting that they did have a bulls-eye painted on their backs. So what Putin did is simply paint a few more, different ones, just to make sure that US leaders come back to reality.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Neocons, Russia 
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When I got an email from a friend telling me that a pair of Su-57s was seen landing at the Russian Aerospace Forces base in Kheimim, Syria, I immediately dismissed it as a fake. The list of reasons why this could not be true would run for pages. I knew that, so I simply replied: “that’s a fake” and forgot about it. Over the next couple of days, however, this story was picked up by various websites and bloggers, but it still made no sense. What kept me feeling really puzzled was that the Russian official sources did not dismiss the story, but chose to remain silent. Then another two Su-57s were reported. And then, suddenly, the Russian media was flooded with stories about how the Su-57s were sent to Syria as an act of “revenge” for the killing of Russian PMCs by the US; that the Su-57s had basically flattened eastern Ghouta while killing about “2000 Americans“. This was some truly crazy nonsense so I decided to find out what really happened and, so far, here is what I found out.

First, amazingly enough, the reports of the Su-57 in Syria are true. Some say 2 aircraft, some say 4 (out of a current total of 13). It doesn’t really matter, what matters is that the deployment of a few Su-57s in Syria is a fact and that this represents a dramatic departure from normal Russian (and Soviet) practice.

Introducing the Sukhoi 57 5th generation multi-role fighter

The Su-57 (aka “PAK-FA” aka “T-50″) is the first real 5th generation multi-role aircraft produced by Russia. All the other Russian multi-role and air superiority aircraft previously deployed in Syria (such as the Su-30SM and the Su-35S) are 4++ aircraft, not true 5th generation. One might be forgiven for thinking that 4++ is awfully close to 5, but it really is not. 4++ generation aircraft are really 4th generation aircraft upgraded with a number of systems and capabilities typically associated with a 5th generation, but they all lack several key components of a true 5th generation aircraft such as:

- a low radar cross-section (“stealth”),

- the capability to fly at supersonic speeds without using afterburners,

- the ability to carry weapons inside a special weapons bay (as opposed to outside, under its wings or body)

- an advanced “situational awareness” (network-centric) capability (sensor and external data fusion).

To make a long story short, the difference between 4th and 5th generation aircraft is really huge and requires not one, but several very complex “technological jumps” especially in the integrations of numerous complex systems.

The only country which currently has a deployed real 5th generation fighter is the US with its F-22. In theory, the US also has another 5th generation fighter, the F-35, but the latter is such a terrible design and has such immense problems that for our purposes we can pretty much dismiss it. As for now, the F-22 is the only “real deal”: thoroughly tested and fully deployed in substantial numbers. The Russian Su-57 is still years away from being able to make such a claim as it has not been thoroughly tested or deployed in substantial numbers. That is not to say that the Russians are not catching up really fast, they are, but as of right now, the Su-57 has only completed the first phase of testing. The normal Soviet/Russian procedure should have been at this time to send a few aircraft to the Russian Aerospace Forces (RAF) base in Lipetsk to familiarize the military crews with the aircraft and continue the testing while getting the feedback, not from test pilots but from actual air combat instructors. This second phase of testing could easily last 6 months or more and reveal a very large number of “minor” problems many of which could actually have very severe consequences in an actual combat deployment. In other words, the Su-57 is still very “raw” and probably needs a lot of tuning before it can be deployed in combat. How “raw”? Just one example: as of today, only one of the currently existing Su-57 flies with the new supercruise-capable engines, all the others use a 4th generation type engine. This is no big deal, but it goes to show that a lot of work still needs to be done on this aircraft before it becomes fully operational.

The notion that the Russians sent the Su-57 to Syria to somehow compete with the F-22s or otherwise participate in actual combat is ludicrous. While, on paper, the Su-57 is even more advanced and capable than the F-22, in reality, the Su-57 presents no credible threat to the US forces in Syria (if the Russians really wanted to freak out the Americans, they could have, for example, decided to keep a pair of MiG-31BMs on 24/7 combat air patrol over Syria). The Russian reports about these aircraft flattening Ghouta or killing thousands of Americans are nothing more than cheap and inflammatory propaganda from ignorant Russian nationalists who don’t seem to realize that flattening urban centers is not even the theoretical mission of the Su-57. In fact, as soon as these crazy reports surfaced, Russians analysts immediately dismissed them as nonsense.

Utter nonsense is hardly the monopoly of Russian nationalists, however. The folks at the National Interest reposted an article (initially posted on the blog The War is Boring) which basically dismissed the Su-57 as a failed and dead project and its deployment in Syria as a “farce” (I should tip my hat off to the commentators at the National Interest who immediately saw through the total ridiculous nature of this article and wondered if Lockheed had paid for it). On the other hand, in the western insanity spectrum, we have the UK’s Daily Express which wrote about Vladimir Putin sending his “fearsome new state-of-the-art Su-57” into the Syrian war zone. Just like with the Kuznetsov, the Ziomedia can’t decide if the Russian hardware is an antiquated, useless pile of scrap metal or a terrifying threat which ought to keep the entire world up at night. Maybe both at the same time? With paranoid narcissists, you can’t tell. Finally, the notion that Putin (personally?) sent these 4 aircraft to Syria to help him in his re-election campaign (peddled by the Russophobes at Ha’aretz) is also devoid of all truth and makes me wonder if those who write that kind of crap are even aware of Putin’s popularity numbers.

So what is really going on?

Well, frankly, that is hard to say, and Russian officials are being tight-lipped about it. Still, various well informed Russian analysts have offered some educated guesses as to what is taking place. The short version is this: the Su-57s were only sent to Syria to test their avionics in a rich combat-like electromagnetic environment. The more detailed version would be something like this:

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Russian Military, SU-57, Syria 
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As the Presidential elections in Russia are drawing near I am amazed to see how much interest this event is generating in spite of the fact that it sure seems to me that this will be an incredibly boring and, frankly, totally useless event.

But first, full disclosure: I don’t have much faith in the so-called “democratic process”. Just look at the EU and tell me: do you really believe that the people in power represent the will and interests of the people who, supposedly, elected them? There are exceptions, of course, Switzerland is probably one of the comparatively most democratic countries out there, but mostly what we see is that western democracies are run by gangs of oligarchs and bureaucrats who have almost nothing in common with the people they are supposed to represent. As for the US, for decades now every time the people voted for “A” they always got “non-A” as a result. It is almost comical.

So here is my personal conclusion: democracies are political systems in which the real ruling elites hide behind an utterly fake appearance of people power. Putting it differently, the “democratic process” is the device by which the real and hidden rulers of the world (or “worldwide behind the scenes powers“, to use the expression of Ivan Il’in), legitimize their power and prevent their overthrow. This is the same technique followed by used car dealerships when they place tens, sometimes, hundreds of US flags on their lots before a car sale: it’s just a basic trick to induce the ‘correct’, patriotic, state of mind.

This is also the reason why there are elections every 4 years in the US: the more illegitimate and despotic any putatively “democratic” regime is, the more often it will organize elections to, so to speak, “increase the dose” of patriotically-induced stupor in its people and give them the illusion that the regime is legitimate, their opinion matters and all is well.

Finally, when needed, slogans such as “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others” are used to put to sleep those who might have doubts. In terms of real people power “democracies” are probably the least truly democratic regimes imaginable simply because they are by far the most capable of hiding who really runs the country and where their real centers of power are. Do I really need to add that the worst kind of “democracy” is the capitalist one? You disagree? Then why do you think that Mayer Amschel Rothschild allegedly declared “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!“? Nowhere is the concentration of capital easier to achieve than in a society which makes it possible for the real ruling class to hide its power behind a screen of electoral farces.

Russia’s modern “democracy” fits into this mold very nicely and the upcoming elections are a perfect example of that. But here I need to make another disclaimer: if judged superficially, just by the usual set of legalistic, external, criteria, Russia is a real democracy: there is freedom of speech in Russia, plenty of elections, you can criticize Putin or any other politician to your heart’s content, when journalists are murdered (which happens), it is never on the Kremlin’s orders (simply because the Kremlin does not need them dead). The Russian media is infinitely more diverse (and interesting!) then the dull propaganda machine called “the media” in the West. And even harsh critics of the government (like, say, Maksim Shevchenko) do get positions in various official human rights monitoring bodies, etc. In reality, Russia is far more democratic than most western countries.

So what is wrong with this rosy picture?

What is wrong is that this is all a farce, a facade, every bit as fake as western democracies are. But in a very different, uniquely Russian, way.

For one thing, there is no real opposition in Russia. Oh sure, Zhirinovsky has been in politics for years and delivering his unique mix of very sound and truthful ideas and utter, idiotic nonsense. ”Zhirik” (as he is called in Russia) is really a court jester, whose role is to amuse but also often say things which others don’t have the courage to say. By the way, regardless of crazy nonsense he regularly spews, the man is very intelligent and well educated and when he acts like a clown he is fully aware of it (you can even see his laughing eyes when he offloads some particularly offensive and outrageous comment). Zhirik and his “Liberal Democratic” (I kid you not!) party is basically the ideal “Kremlin-approved” pseudo-opposition which gets a lot of people who otherwise might feel really disgusted with Kremlin politics to vent, go vote, and then basically support Putin even if they don’t realize it. Zhirik and his LDRP are also very useful to harshly criticize, ridicule and discredit the pro-US “liberals” (in the Russian meaning of the word) whom I refer to as “Atlantic Integrationists”. Next, comes the Communists.

The Russian Communists are a pathetic bunch, really. I wish the English speaking audience could listen to how their longtime leader, Gennady Zyuganov, speaks: he even sounds like an old Soviet Politburo member. The Russian Communists have, for many years now, been a completely reactionary and fossilized party: mostly they peddle Soviet-era nostalgia, minus the Gulag, of course, and with a new and fantastically hypocritical respect for religion. If Zhirik is a least really funny, Zyuganov will bore you to tears! So for these elections, the Russian Communists did something really weird: they chose to back an outsider, Pavel Grudinin, who is as much a real communist as Barak Obama was a real democrat. I guess their stupid plan was to show something akin to a 21st-century version of “Communism with a human face”, except for this time the face looks strikingly similar to Charlie Chaplin.

But don’t completely dismiss the Communists quite yet. For one thing, many Russians are deeply opposed to the neo-liberal policies of the Medvedev government and even though Putin talks a very social talk, the sad reality is that he also is clearly a proponent of western-style economics. Putin gets away with this by two simple tricks: a) his superb foreign policy b) by deflecting most criticisms on Medvedev. Slick move, but not one good enough for a nation and culture which has always been strongly social and collectivistic, which instinctively feels that capitalism and individualism are morally repugnant, and practically unsustainable, and which views the accumulation of capital as something profoundly immoral.

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Events in Syria have recently clearly taken a turn for the worse and there is an increasing amount of evidence that the Russian task force in Syria is being targeted by a systematic campaign of “harassing attacks”.

First, there was the (relatively successful) drone and mortar attack on the Russian Aerospace base in Khmeimin. Then there was the shooting down of a Russian SU-25 over the city of Maasran in the Idlib province. Now we hear of Russian casualties in the US raid on a Syrian column (along with widely exaggerated claims of “hundreds” of killed Russians). In the first case, Russian officials did openly voice their strong suspicion that the attack was if not planned and executed by the US, then at least coordinated with the US forces in the vicinity. In the case of the downing of the SU-25, no overt accusations have been made, but many experts have stated that the altitude at which the SU-25 was hit strongly suggests a rather modern MANPAD of a type not typically seen in Syria (the not so subtle hint being here that these were US Stingers sent to the Kurds by the US). As for the latest attack on the Syrian column, what is under discussion is not who did it but rather what kind of Russian personnel was involved, Russian military or private contractors (the latter is a much more likely explanation since the Syrian column had no air-cover whatsoever). Taken separately, none of these incidents mean very much but taken together they might be indicative of a new US strategy in Syria: to punish the Russians as much as possible short of an overt US attack on Russian forces. To me this hypothesis seems plausible for the following reasons:

First, the US and Israel are still reeling in humiliation and impotent rage over their defeat in Syria: Assad is still in power, Daesh is more or less defeated, the Russians were successful not only their military operations against Daesh but also in their campaign to bring as many “good terrorists” to the negotiating table as possible. With the completion of a successful conference on Syria in Russia and the general agreement of all parties to begin working on a new constitution, there was a real danger of peace breaking out, something the AngloZionist are absolutely determined to oppose (check out this apparently hacked document which, if genuine, clearly states the US policy not to allow the Russian to get anything done).

Second, both Trump and Netanyahu have promised to bring in lots of “victories” to prove how manly and strong they are (as compared to the sissies which preceded them). Starting an overt war against Russian would definitely be a “proof of manhood”, but a much too dangerous one. Killing Russians “on the margins”, so to speak, either with plausible deniability or, alternatively, killing Russians private contractors is much safer and thus far more tempting option.

Third, there are presidential elections coming up in Russia and the Americans are still desperately holding on to their sophomoric notion that if they create trouble for Putin (sanctions or body bags from Syria) they can somehow negatively impact his popularity in Russia (in reality they achieve the opposite effect, but they are too dull and ignorant to realize that).

Last but not least, since the AngloZionists have long since lost the ability to actually gett anything done, their logical fall-back position is not to let anybody else succeed either. This is the main purpose of the entire US deployment in northern Syria: to create trouble for Turkey, Iran, Syria and, of course, Russia.

The bottom line is this: since the Americans have declared that they will (illegally) stay in Syria until the situation “stabilizes” they now must do everything their power to destabilize Syria. Yes, there is a kind of a perverse logic to all that…

For Russia, all this bad news could be summed up in the following manner: while Russia did defeat Daesh in Syria she is still far from having defeated the AngloZionists in the Middle-East. The good news is, however, that Russia does have options to deal with this situation.

Step one: encouraging the Turks

There is a counter-intuitive but in many ways an ideal solution for Russia to counter the US invasion of Syria: involve the Turks. How? Not by attacking the US forces directly, but by attacking the Kurdish militias the Americans are currently “hiding” behind (at least politically). Think of it, while the US (or Israel) will have no second thoughts whatsoever before striking Syrian or Iranian forces, actually striking Turkish forces would carry an immense political risk: following the US-backed coup attempt against Erdogan and, just to add insult to injury, the US backing for the creation of a “mini-Kurdistsan” both in Iraq and in Syria, US-Turkish relations are at an all-time low and it would not take much to push the Turks over the edge with potentially cataclysmic consequences for the US, EU, NATO, CENTCOM, Israel and all the AngloZionist interests in the region. Truly, there is no overstating the strategic importance of Turkey for Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle-East, and the Americans know that. From this flows a very real if little understood consequence: the Turkish armed forces in Syria basically enjoy what I would call a “political immunity” from any US attacks, that is to say that (almost) no matter what the Turks do, the US would (almost) never consider actually openly using force against them simply because the consequence of, say, a USAF strike on a Turkish army column would be too serious to contemplate.

In fact, I believe the US-Turkish relationship is so bad and so one-sided that I see a Turkish attack on a Kurdish (or “good terrorist”) column/position with embedded US Special Forces far more likely than a US attack on a Turkish army column. This might sound counter-intuitive, but let’s say the Turks did attack a Kurdish (or “good terrorist”) column/position with US personnel and that US servicemen would die as the result. What would/could the US do? Retaliate in kind? No way! Not only is the notion of the US attacking a fellow NATO country member is quite unthinkable, it would most likely be followed by a Turkish demand that the US/NATO completely withdraw from Turkey’s territory and airspace. In theory, the US could ask the Israelis to do their dirty job for them, but the Israelis are not stupid (even if they are crazy) and they won’t have much interest in starting a shooting war with Turkey over what is a US-created problem in a “mini-Kurdistan”, lest any hallowed “Jewish blood” be shed for some basically worthless goyim.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Russia, Syria, Turkey 
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I have recently had the pleasure of watching a short presentation by Professor Stephen F. Cohen entitled “Rethinking Putin” which he delivered on the annual Nation cruise on December 2, 2017 (see here for the original Nation Article and original YouTube video). In his short presentation, Professor Cohen does a superb job explaining what Putin is *not* and that includes: (but, please do watch the original video before proceeding).

  1. He is not the man who de-democratized Russia (Elstin and the White House did)
  2. He is not the leader who created corruption and kleptocracy in Russia (Elstin and the White House did)
  3. He is not a criminal leader who ordered the murder of opponents or journalists (no evidence)
  4. He did not order the hacking of the DNC servers (no evidence)
  5. He was not anti-US or anti-West from the get-go (Putin changed over time)
  6. He is not a neo-Soviet leader (he is very critical of Lenin and Stalin)
  7. He is not an aggressive foreign policy leader (he has been a reactive leader)
  8. He is not somehow defined by his years at the KGB.

Professor Cohen ended his talk by suggesting a few things which might form a part of a future honest biography:

  1. As a young and inexperienced leader placed at the helm of a collapsing state:
  2. He rebuilt, stabilized and modernized Russia in a way to prevent future collapses
  3. He had to restore the “vertical” of power: “managed democracy” (i.e. restored order)
  4. He needed a consensual history patching up Czarist, Soviet and post-Soviet eras without imposing one, single, version of history
  5. He needed Western support to modernize the Russian economy
  6. He wanted Russia to be a great power, but not a super-power
  7. He never favored iron-curtain isolationism; he is an internationalist (more European than 90% of Russians, at least in the beginning).

The key thesis is this: Putin began as a pro-Western, European leader and with time he realigned himself with a much more traditional, Russian worldview. He is more in line with Russian voters today.

Professor Cohen concluded by addressing two topics which, I presume, his audience cared deeply about: he said that, contrary to Western propaganda, the so-called ‘anti-gay’ laws in Russia are no different from the laws of 13 US states. Secondly, that “by any reckoning, be it flourishing inside Russia or relations with Israel, by general consent of all, nobody denies this, Jews under Putin in Russia are better off than they had ever been in Russian history. Ever. They have more freedom, less official anti-Semitism, more protection, more official admiration for Israel, more interaction, more freedom to go back and forth”.

This is all very interesting important stuff, especially when delivered to a Left-Liberal-Progressive US audience (with, probably, a high percentage of Jews). Frankly, Professor Cohen’s presentation makes me think about what Galileo might have felt when he made his own “presentations” before the tribunal of Inquisition (Cohen’s articles and books are now also on the modern equivalent of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum). In truth, Professor Cohen is simply true to himself: he opposed the crazies during the old Cold War and now he is opposing the same crazies during the new Cold War. His entire life Professor Cohen was a man of truth, courage, and integrity – a peacemaker in the sense of the Beatitudes (Matt 5:9). So while I am not surprised by his courage, I am still immensely impressed by it. Some might think that delivering a short presentation on a cruise-ship is hardly a sign of great courage, but I would vehemently disagree. Yes, nobody would shoot Cohen in the back of the neck like, say, the Soviet ChK-GPU-NKVD would have done, but I submit that these methods of “enforcing” a single official consensus were far less effective than their modern equivalents: the conformity imposition techniques (see: Asch Conformity Experiment) so prevalent in the modern Western society. Just look at the results: there was far more reading and thinking (of any kind) going on in the Soviet society than there is today in the modern AngloZionist Empire (anybody who remembers the bad old USSR will confirm that to you). As one joke puts it: in a dictatorship, you are told to “shut up”, while in a democracy you are encouraged to “keep talking”. QED.

Turning to Professor Cohen’s talking points, numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 are basic facts. Nothing to be debated here – Cohen is plainly setting the factual record straight. Number 5 is much more interesting and controversial. For one thing, we are talking views/intentions, which are hard to judge. Was Putin ever pro-Western? Who knows? Maybe his closest friends know? My own belief is that this question must be looked at in combination of issue #8: Putin’s service in the KGB.

There is still a huge amount of misinformation about the old Soviet KGB in the West. To the average American a “KGB agent” is a guy called Vladimir, with steel gray-blue eyes, who beats up dissidents, steals Western technological secrets, and spies on the wives of politicians (and even beds them). He is a hardcore Communist who dreams about nuking or invading the US and he speaks with a thick Russian accent. Alternatively, there is Anna Kushchenko (a.k.a. Anna Chapman) – a devious sex doll who seduces Western men into treason. These prototypes are as accurate as James Bond is an accurate representation of MI6. The reality could not be more different.

The Soviet KGB was first and foremost a huge bureaucracy with completely different, and separate, directorates, departments, and sections. Yes, one such Directorate did deal with dissidents and anti-Soviet activists (mainly the 9th Department of the 5th Directorate) but even within this (infamous) 5th Directorate there were some Departments which, in coordination with other KGB Directorates and Departments, dealt with more legitimate tasks such as, for example, the early detection of terrorist organizations (7th Department). Other Directorates of the KGB dealt with economic security (6th Directorate), internal security and counter-intelligence (2nd Directorate) or even protection of officials (9th Directorate).

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So, finally, the suspense is over. Kind of. The US Treasury has finally released the list of Russian entities and individuals which could (conditionally!) be sanctioned by the US Treasury in compliance with the H.R.3364 – Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. These two short excerpt from the report show why I say “could”:


Now let’s translate all this in plain English: the US took a copy of the Kremlin telephone book, then a copy of Forbes and created a new list combining both. Then the US proclaimed that these entities and individuals are not under any sanctions yet, but are candidates for such sanctions.

Does that make *any* sense to you *at all*?!

Well, if it does, stop reading and enjoy your unique gifts. If it does not, then don’t feel bad as this makes no sense whatsoever for anybody in Russia either. Oh how I wish modern technologies would make it possible for me to post here all the recent interviews, articles, talk-shows and public statements made in Russia for the past 24 hours! To say that the Russians are baffled is, really, an understatement.

Two things are noteworthy: first, this list completely ignores one of the most important realities of Russian politics: that the real, dangerous, opposition to Putin is not from the people (who support him at anywhere between 60% to 80%+) or from the Russian media (which, while often critical, does not represent a real threat to him) or even the Duma (whose opposition parties are critical of the Kremlin, but who are very careful about criticizing Putin himself lest they lose support from the people) . For years now I have been explaining that the real opposition to Putin is a) inside the ruling elites, including the Presidential Administration and the Government and b) big money: banks, oligarchs, etc. I call this (informal) opposition the “Atlantic Integrationists” because what these pro-western globalists want is for the AngloZionist Empire to accept Russia as an equal partner and to have Russia fully integrate itself into the US-controlled international financial and security structures: WTO, NATO, EU, G7/8, etc. Very roughly speaking you could call them as the “Medvedev people” (but you could also say that the Ministers in charge of the Russian economy all fall into this category, as do almost all the heads of Russian banks). I call the (informal) group supporting Putin the “Eurasian Sovereignists“. These are the folks who see the future of Russia in the South, East and even North, who want to pull Russia out of the AngloZionist international financial and security structures and who want a truly sovereign Russia to contribute to a new truly multi-polar world in collaboration with countries like China or the other BRICS countries. Very roughly you could call these people the “Putin people” (but you could also say that figures such as Ivanov, Rogozin, Shoigu and a few others are key personalities).

This is important because the this list of (potentially sanctioned) people makes absolutely no distinctions between these two groups. Check out this article on RT entitled “Major Russian bank will no longer service defense industry over US sanctions fears“. It quotes the Alfa Bank CEO Mikhail Fridman whose net worth is estimated at $16.2 billion by Forbes,saying that in magazine that Alfa-Bank was cutting ties with the Russia’s defense industry, adding, “What can we do?”. Now look at the list, Appendix II, entry #23. Do you see who is there? Yup, the very same Mikhail Fridman!

Now let me add this: in the current political climate in Russia, to have bank accounts in the West is considered shameful and unpatriotic and that is something which even most dishonest and hypocritical Eurasian Sovereignists can hardly afford for political reasons (that does not mean that some don’t try, they do, but at a great political risk). In contrast, among Atlantic Integrationists, whose power and influence does not depend on public opinion, having assets abroad is much less dangerous and, therefore, much more common.

Now that the the US Treasury has released this “list of marked individuals” (and their families, relatives or associated corporate entities) for potential, unspecified, future sanction, who do you think will freak out most, the Eurasian Sovereignists or the Atlantic Integrationists? Then look a step further and forget about the US for a second: Russia is trying hard to work with the Europeans on many join projects. What do you think the creation of such a list will have on joint ventures between EU and Russian businessmen? I predict two things:

  1. It will place a great deal of pressure on EU corporations not to do business with the Russians and, therefore, it will further place the EU and the US on a collision course.
  2. It will hurt the Atlantic Integrationists where it hurts them the most: in their financial interests.

Frankly, if I were paid to think long and hard about how to come up with the dumbest and most self-defeating foreign policy decision for the US I could never do better than what the Trump Administration and Congress have just done. This is, by the way, something which all Russian analysts agree with. What they don’t agree with are the reasons for that seemingly completely and terminally stupid move. Here are the various schools of thought in Russia on that account:

Group One: “the slap in the face of Russia”:

They believe that the sole intention was to insult and humiliate Russia by basically declaring that all the top Russian people are gangsters. According to them, there ain’t much the US can do to Russia other than to continue a petty war of insults and harassment (like the expulsion of Russian diplomats and the seizure of Russian consular buildings in the US).

Group Two: “it’s all internal US politics”:

That groups says that this has nothing to do with Russia at all. According to them, the US economy is doing well under Trump, the Democrats have nothing to use against him so all they do is continue to hammer the “Russian threat” fairytale to which Trump responds with deliberately ineffective and totally symbolic actions which make it look like he is anti-Russian when in reality he is quietly sabotaging the Democrats’ attempts at truly worsening relations with Russia and preventing the Democrats from playing the “Russian threat” card against Trump.

Group Three: “Трамп Наш” (Тrump is ours):

No, nobody in Russian seriously thinks Trump is a Russian agent or is somehow “owned” by Russia—they say that as a joke, always laughing. But what they do mean is that deep down Trump is a friend of Russia and is actually helping Russia and Putin. How? By taking all sorts of measures which only hurt the US while very powerfully helping Russia (for example, by forcing Russian oligarchs to bring their foreign assets back to Russia). Some even go as far as saying that this list is most damaging to the people opposed to Putin and that it gives him a pretext to fire them all after the Presidential elections in Russia. Far from considering Trump a bumbling idiot, this group sees him as a consummate politician who is actually creating the circumstances to really hurt his (real) enemies and help his (real) friends.

Group Four: “Наших бьют!” (Our people are under attack!):

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The drama which is unfolding in northern Syria is truly an almost ideal case to fully assess how weak and totally dysfunctional the AngloZionist Empire has really become. Let’s begin with a quick reminder.

The US-Israeli goals in Syria were really very simple. As I have already mentioned in a past article, the initial AngloZionist plan was to overthrow Assad and replace him with the Takfiri crazies (Daesh, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, ISIS – call them whatever you want). Doing this would achieve the following goals:

  1. Bring down a strong secular Arab state along with its political structure, armed forces and security services.
  2. Create total chaos and horror in Syria justifying the creation of a “security zone” by Israel not only in the Golan, but further north.
  3. Trigger a civil war in Lebanon by unleashing the Takfiri crazies against Hezbollah.
  4. Let the Takfiris and Hezbollah bleed each other to death, then create a “security zone”, but this time in Lebanon.
  5. Prevent the creation of a Shia axis Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.
  6. Breakup Syria along ethnic and religious lines.
  7. Create a Kurdistan which could then be used against Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
  8. Make it possible for Israel to become the uncontested power broker in the Middle-East and forces the KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and all others to have to go to Israel for any gas or oil pipeline project.
  9. Gradually isolate, threaten, subvert and eventually attack Iran with a wide regional coalition of forces.
  10. Eliminate all center of Shia power in the Middle-East.

With the joint Russian-Iranian military intervention, this plan completely collapsed. For a while, the USA tried to break up Syria under various scenarios, but the way the Russian Aerospace forces hammered all the “good terrorists” eventually convinced the AngloZionists that this would not work.

The single biggest problem for the Empire is that while it has plenty of firepower in the region (and worldwide), it cannot deploy any “boots on the ground”. Being the Empire’s boots on the ground was, in fact, the role the AngloZionists had assigned to the Takfiri crazies (aka Daesh/IS/ISIS/al-Qaeda/al-Nusra/etc/), but that plan failed. The only US allies left in the region are Israel and Saudi Arabia. The problem with them is that, just like the USA themselves, these countries do not have ground forces capable of actually deploying inside Syria and taking on not only the Syrian military, but the much more capable Iranian and Hezbollah forces. Murdering civilians is really the only thing the Israelis and Saudis are expert in, at least on the ground (in the skies the Israeli Air Force is a very good one). Enter the Kurds.

The AngloZionist wanted to use the Kurds just like NATO had used the KLA in Kosovo: as a ground force which could be supported by US/NATO and maybe even Israeli airpower. Unlike the Israelis and Saudis, the Kurds are a relatively competent ground force (albeit not one able to take on, say, Turkey or Iran).

The folks at the Pentagon had already tried something similar last year when they attempted to create a sovereign Kurdistan in Iraq by means of a referendum. The Iraqis, with some likely help from Iran, immediately put an end to this nonsense and the entire exercise was a pathetic “flop”.

Which immediately begs to obvious question: are the Americans even capable of learning from their mistakes? What in the world were they thinking when they announced the creation of 30’000 strong Syrian Border Security Force (BSF) (so called to give the illusion that protecting Syria’s border was the plan, not the partition Syria)? The real goal was, as always, to put pressure on Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia while grabbing a lot of oil. As always with Uncle Shmuel, the entire plan had no UNSC authorization was thus totally illegal under international law (as is the presence of the USA in the Syria’s airspace and territory, but nobody cares any more) .

Did Trump and his generals really think that Turkey, Iran, Syria and Russia would accept a US protectorate in Syria masquerading as an “independent Kurdistan” and do nothing about it? Yet again, and I know this sound hard to believe, but I think that this is yet another strong indication that the Empire is run by stupid and ignorant people whose brain and education simply do not allow them to grasp even the basic dynamics in the region of four planet there are interfering with.

Whatever may be the case the Turks reacted exactly as everybody thought: the Turkish Chief of Staff jumped into an airplane, flew to Moscow, met with top Russian generals (including Minister of Defense Shoigu) and clearly got a “go ahead” from Moscow: not only were the Turkish airplanes flying over Syria’s Afrin province not challenged by Russian air defense systems (which have ample coverage in this region), but the Russians also helpfully withdrew their military personnel from the region lest any Russian get hurt. Sergei Lavrov deplored it all, as he had to, but it was clear to all that Turkey had the Russian backing for this operation. I would add that I am pretty sure that the Iranians were also consulted (maybe at the same meeting in Moscow?) to avoid any misunderstandings as there is little love lost between Ankara and Tehran.

What about the Kurds? Well, how do I say that nicely? Let’s just say that what they did was not very smart. That’s putting it very, very mildly. The Russians gave them a golden deal: accept large autonomy in Syria, come to the National Dialog Congress to take place in Sochi, we will make your case before the (always reluctant) Syrians, Iranians and Turks and we will even give you money to help you develop your oil production. But no, the Kurds chose to believe in the hot air coming from Washington and when the Turks attacked that is all the Kurds got from Washington: hot air.

In fact, it is pretty clear that the US Americans have, yet again, betrayed an ally: Tillerson has now “greenlighted” a 30km safe zone in Syria (as if anybody was asking for his opinion, nevermind permission!). Take a look at this simple map of the Afrin region and look what 50 miles (about 80km) look like. You can immediately see that this 30km “safe zone” means: the end of any Kurdish aspirations to created a little independent Kurdistan in northern Syria.

To say that all these developments make the Russians really happy is not an exaggeration. It is especially sweet for the Russians to see that they did not even have to do much, that this ugly mess of a disaster for the USA was entirely self-inflicted. What can be sweeter than that?

Let’s look at it all from the Russian point of view:

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Israel, Kurds, Syria, Turkey 
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Informationclearinghouse recently posted an article by Darius Shahtahmasebi entitled “Israel Keeps Bombing Syria and Nobody Is Doing Anything About It”. Following this publication I received an email from a reader asking me the following question:

“Putin permitting Israel to bomb Syria – why? I am confused by Putins actions – does Putin support the Zionist entity, on the quiet like. I would appreciate your feedback on this matter. Also – I have heard, but not been able to confirm, that the Russian Jewish immigrants to Occupied Palestines are the most ardent tormenters of the Palestinians – it takes quite some doing to get ahead of the likes of Netanyahu. Please comment”.

While in his article Darius Shahtahmasebi wonders why the world is not doing anything to stop the Israelis (“Why haven’t Iran, Syria, and/or Hezbollah in Lebanon responded directly?“), my reader is more specific and wonders why Putin (or Russia) specifically is not only “permitting” Israel to bomb Syria but even possibly “supporting” the Zionist Entity.

I often see that question in emails and in comments, so I wanted to address this issue today.

First, we need to look at some critical assumption implied by this question. These assumptions are:

  1. That Russia can do something to stop the Israelis
  2. That Russia should (or even is morally obliged) to do something.

Let me begin by saying that I categorically disagree with both of these assumptions, especially the 2nd one. Let’s take them one by one.

Assumption #1: Russia can stop the Israeli attacks on Syria

How? I think that the list of options is fairly obvious here. Russian options range from diplomatic action (such as private or public protests and condemnations, attempts to get a UNSC Resolution passed) to direct military action (shooting down Israeli aircraft, “painting” them with an engagement radar to try to scare them away or, at least, try to intercept Israeli missiles).

Trying to reason with the Israelis or get the to listen to the UN has been tried by many countries for decades and if there is one thing which is beyond doubt is that the Israelis don’t give a damn about what anybody has to say. So talking to them is just a waste of oxygen. What about threatening them? Actually, I think that this could work, but at what risk and price?

First of all, while I always said that the IDF’s ground forces are pretty bad, this is not the case of their air forces. In fact, their record is pretty good. Now if you look at where the Russian air defenses are, you will see that they are all concentrated around Khmeimim and Tartus. Yes, an S-400 has a very long range, but that range is dependent on many things including the size of the target, its radar-cross section, its electronic warfare capabilities, the presence of specialized EW aircraft, altitude, etc. The Israelis are skilled pilots who are very risk averse so they are very careful about what they do. Finally, the Israelis are very much aware of where the Russians are themselves and where there missiles are. I think that it would be pretty safe to say that the Israelis make sure to keep a minimal safe distance between themselves and the Russians, if only to avoid any misunderstanding.

But let’s say that the Russians did have a chance to shoot down an Israeli aircraft – what would be the likely Israeli reaction to such a shooting? In this article Darius Shahtahmasebi writes: “Is it because Israel reportedly has well over 200 nukes all “pointed at Iran,” and there is little Iran and its allies can do to take on such a threat?” I don’t see the Israelis use nukes on Russian forces, however, that does in no way mean that the Russians when dealing with Israel should not consider the fact that Israel is a nuclear armed power ruled by racist megalomaniacs. In practical terms this means this: “should Russia (or any other country) risk a military clash with Israel over a few destroyed trucks or a weapons and ammunition dump”? I think that the obvious answer is clearly ‘no’.

While this is the kind of calculations the US simply ignores (at least officially – hence all the saber-rattling against the DPRK), Russia is ruled by a sane and responsible man who cannot make it a habit of simply waltzing into a conflict hence the Russian decision not to retaliate in kind against the shooting down of the Russian SU-24 by the Turks. If the Russians did not retaliate against the Turks shooting down one of their own aircraft, they sure ain’t gonna attack the Israelis when they attack a non-Russian target!

There are also simply factual issues to consider: even if some Russian air-defense systems are very advanced and could shoot down an X number of Israeli aircraft, they are nowhere near numerous enough to prevent the entire Israeli air force from saturating them. In fact, both Israel and CENTCOM simply have such a numbers advantage over the relatively small Russian contingent that they both could over-run the Russian defenses, even if they would take losses in the process.

So yes, the Russian probably could stop one or a few Israeli attacks, but if the Israelis decided to engage in a sustained air campaign against targets in Syria there is nothing the Russians could do short of going to war with Israel. So here again a very basic strategic principle fully applies: you never want to start an escalatory process you neither control nor can win. Put simply this means: if the Russians shoot back – they lose and the Israelis win. It’s really that simple and both sides know it (armchair strategist apparently don’t).

And this begs a critical look at the second assumption:

Assumption #2: Russia has some moral duty to stop the Israeli attacks on Syria

This is the one which most baffles me. Why in the world would anybody think that Russia owes anybody anywhere on the planet any type of protection?! For starters, when is the last time somebody came to the help of Russia? I don’t recall anybody in the Middle-East offering their support to Russia in Chechnia, Georgia or, for that matter, the Ukraine! How many countries in the Middle-East have recognized South Ossetia or Abkhazia (and compare that with the Kosovo case!)? Where was the Muslim or Arab “help” or “friendship” towards Russia when sanctions were imposed and the price of oil dropped? Remind me – how exactly did Russia’s “friends” express their support for Russia over, say, the Donbass or Crimea?

Can somebody please explain to me why Russia has some moral obligation towards Syria or Iran or Hezbollah when not a single Muslim or Arab country has done anything to help the Syrian government fight against the Takfiris? Where is the Arab League!? Where is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation?!

Is it not a fact that Russia has done more in Syria than all the countries of the Arab League and the OIC combined?!

Where do the Arab and Muslims of the Middle-East get this sense of entitlement which tells them that a faraway country which struggles with plenty of political, economic and military problems of its own has to do more than the immediate neighbors of Syria do?!

Putin is the President of Russia and he is first and foremost accountable to the Russian people to whom he has to explain every Russian casualty and even every risk he takes. It seems to me that he is absolutely right when he acts first and foremost in defense of the people who elected him and not anybody else.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Israel, Russia, Syria 
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