Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ukie hunt on Russian journalists and the possibility of war

It is no secret that the junta in Kiev hates the Russian media.  This is hardly surprising considering that with a few extraordinarily rare exceptions, the western press corps walks in lockstep with Psaki's narrative about this war.  So Russian journalists have been beating up, kidnapped, searched, detained, tortured and, of course, murdered.  And just in case anybody would still hold on to the belief that this policy is the result of the action of a "few bad apples" (the use the Pentagon's favorite expression), I want to mention two interesting developments here:

1) The Ukie "Rada" is in the process of passing a law removing the press accreditations of pretty much the entire Russian press corps in the Ukraine.
2) The Ukie secret police - the SBU - has now issued a directive ordering the attest of 80 people including several of the best known journalist currently reporting from the warzone.

Ukie arrest order for Russian reporters
And this all makes perfect sense.  Since the Russians are the only reporters courageous enough to report from places like Slaviansk and Kramatorsk and since they are the only ones honest enough to say the truth about the atrocities committed daily in Novorossia, getting rid of them (by means of murder or kidnapping) will basically remove Novorossia from the world's "media radar".

I am generally not a big fan of the modern press corps (where I have too many friends to have any illusions about how it really works), but I have to express my deep admiration for the absolutely fantastic work the Russian journalists do in Novorossia and, by the way, in Syria.  And while I am sure that the Ukie threats and the death of their colleagues will not stop the Russian journalists of continuing to report from Novorossia, I only feel total disgust and contempt  with western media whose indifference towards its Russian colleagues is absolute.

Can you imagine the kind of atrocities the Ukie death-squads would engage in if they succeeded in getting rid of the only real journalists reporting from the warzone?

In the meantime, while Poroshenko has announced that Banderastan will sign the association agreement with the EU, Russia is apparently moving some of its military forces closer to the Ukrainian border.  Whether this is again a hallucination by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen or not, I am quite sure that a Russian military intervention is imminent and that short of a miracle Putin will have to take action to protect the population of Novorossia.

Will a Russian liberation of Novorossia trigger a war with NATO?

Probably not.

But I absolutely hate this word "probably" which is not good enough when contemplating such a horrible possibility.  "Probably not" implies "possibly yes" and for me, a child of the Cold War, even the prospect of a Russia-NATO war is quite literally unthinkable.  But that kind of mental block is very dangerous because wars do not always happen by plan, but also by what I would call "predictable accident".

Still, I want to believe that a Russia-NATO war is most unlikely.

For one thing, NATO does not have what it takes to fight such a war.  Oh yes, I am quite aware of the fact that combined NATO forces are much bigger than Russia's, but that is a meaningless figure.  Right now the Ukies enjoy an advantage over Novorossians ranging from 5:1 to 100:1 and that does them no good at all.  Since any Russian-NATO war would have to be fought either on the Dniepr or east of it, there is the first problem of getting NATO forces there.  Then you would have to supply them.  And only then would you have to engage them against the Russian military.  That goes not only for ground forces, by the way, but also for Air Forces who, with the exception of strategic bombers, do not have the range to take off from, say, Poland or Germany, fly to, say, Kharkov, strike at their targets and come back.  Don't go by what is called "ferry range" (a one way non-combat flight) because in wartime the flight profile for a strike aircraft is completely different, especially loaded with ordinance.  So while Russia does not have what it takes to attack Poland or Germany (why would Russian want such a capability anyway?!), NATO does not have what it takes to fight Russia in the eastern Ukraine either.  Not boots on the ground, not aircraft in the skies.  Which leaves long range cruise missile strikes.  Here NATO can reach all of the eastern Ukraine and most of Russia in fact.  From USN and NATO ships in the Baltic and Black seas for example.  US B-52 could also deliver cruise missiles (but not the B-1 or B-2 bombers who don't have that capability).  But that would expose all of western Europe and even all of the coastal USA to Russian retaliatory strikes.  And no offense intended to anybody here, but history has made the Russian people tougher than the people of any NATO member states by several orders of magnitude, which means that in practical terms the people of, say, Rostov or Smolensk will cope with a US cruise missile strike much better than, say, the folks of Amsterdam or Santa Monica.  Last, but not least, once cruise missile strikes are exchanged, the risk of nuclear escalation become very, very real.

So, again, I see no thinkable scenario for a Russia-NATO war.  And the recent move of 2 B-2 from CONUS to the UK do not impress me.  First, because B-2 have the theoretical range to fly a combat mission from the continental USA, but because B-2 cannot be used against Russia anyway: since they cannot fire long range cruise missiles, they would have to enter Russian airspace to deliver their ordinance and since we now know that Russian radars can see and track "stealth" aircraft, that would make them sitting ducks for the Russian air-defense forces (missiles and interceptors).

And yet when I see the rhetoric, the saber-rattling, the apparently total commitment of the USA to provoke Russia I wonder if having accelerated their propaganda machine to such a velocity the western plutocrats will have the wisdom or even the capability to step on the brakes before they plunge the world into an abyss.  I don't know. 

But they are certainly playing with fire.  Potentially nuclear fire.

The Saker