Tuesday, July 8, 2014

For Russia the issues is tactics, not strategy

I think that the unexpected fall of Slaviansk hit us all very hard.  We were used to think of it as a new Stalingrad, as a Donbass version of Bint Jbeil, and the sudden withdrawal of Strelkov's forces was a surprise for us all.  And I really mean us all, including the Ukies (who had predicted that Strelkov would fight to the last bullet there).  And that is exactly what Strelkov wanted.

I could go over all the arguments of Auslander or those of the anonymous Ukie General, but all I could add is that I agree with them.  But why do that again?  I already discussed the likely evolution of the combat situation in the Donbass (see here) and I specifically discussed the only real importance of Slaviansk, a symbolic one.  If somebody still sincerely believes that Strelkov's move was anything short of a very smart and perfectly timed withdrawal from an untenable position, I have no more arguments to challenge such a belief.  To the others I will say this: retreating is one of the most difficult and important skills in warfare, completely underestimated and misunderstood by civilians, it constitutes a grueling and most revealing test of the quality of the forces executing it.  It appears that Strelkov achieved a near-perfect, orderly and impeccably timed retread from an already surrounded Slaviansk and that is the best proof possible of his superb tactical skills.

What I would like to do now, is look not at the tactical issues, but at Russian strategic options.  Not how Russia would try to do this or that, but rather what the Russian final, campaign, objective is likely to be.

Putin's motives and goals

First, I have to tell you that the only logical working hypothesis about Putin is that he is doing what he believes is the best for Russia and the Russian people.  The notion that he is a "coward" or that he "sold out" is at prima facie ridiculous: if that had been the case, he would not have ordered the Russian forces to snatch the Crimean Peninsula right under the nose of the US and NATO.  Nor would he have dared to openly challenge the AngloZionists over Syria.  No, if Putin is not sending the Russian forces into the Donbass it has nothing to do with fear or with a some putative Russian weakness.  It has everything to do with the fact that he has come to the conclusion that this would not be the right tactic to achieve his strategic goal.  That is the only logical explanation.

I would note that a recent poll also shows that 60% (sixty percent!) of Russians agree with him and do not want to send troops into the Donbass.  Does that mean that 60% of Russians are cowards or have been bought off by the NWO?  Hardly.

Sending in Russian forces into Novorussia is a tactic, a means to achieve something else.  This is not a goal per se, right?  So what is the goal?

I think that the first thing we need to ask is this: can Russia accept, or somehow live with, the US project?  What is that project again?  A unitary (non-federal) Ukraine run by russophobic Nazis completely under US control, with NATO inside the Ukraine and any forms of Russian influence out.  At the very best, that would mean that Crimea would be under constant threat of attack and, at the worst, this would mean a Ukie/NATO/US attack on Crimea as soon as enough forces would have been mustered.  Ask yourself, is that an outcome acceptable for Russia?  Is there any chance that Putin could be persuaded to accept this?  My reply is an emphatic 'no way!'.  This is simply not an outcome Russia can accept, regardless of who sits in the Kremlin.

Ok, so what about a deal with Poroshenko?  Something like, "you give up Crimea, and I give up Donbass"?

Nonsense.  First, there is no Poroshenko.  Well, ok, there is a guy called Poroshenko in Kiev, but he has no power at all.  The real power is not even Obama, it's the US "deep state": Obama's puppet masters and Poroshenko's puppet masters.  Now ask yourself a basic question: does the US "deep state" need Donbass?  Of course not!

The Donbass - who needs it who does not?

What is the Donbass?  In a few words, the Donbass is a completely Russian region which by the absurdities of history has found itself part of the Ukraine, just like Crimea.  Furthermore, the Donbass is a region almost exclusively focused on trade with Russia.  It has coal and high tech industrial capabilities (including military).  The US, the EU or even the AngloZionist empire as a whole has exactly zero need for the Donbass.  Russia yes, Russia could definitely use much of the potential of the Donbass, but not anybody else.  Now, if the Donbass is handed over the the Nazi-controlled rump-Ukraine (what I call Banderastan) it will thereby and automatically lose any and all of its value: cut off from Russia, the Donbass is useless.  Just like a key is only useful when there is a lock, Donbass is only useful through its relationship to Russia.  Cut that off and Donbass is worthless.

So what would happen to a Donbass part of a unitary Banderastan?  Well, first, Russia would have to  immediately cut it off from the Common Trade Zone (to protect Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and future members) from EU goods.  Furthermore, the junta freaks have already announced that Banderastan will not supply the Russian military industry.  Besides, the Donbass is already in free fall - since the beginning of the year the exports to Russia have dropped, if I am not mistaken here, by something like 1/4, or 25%.  So, let's face it, if the Nazi junta ever gets the Donbass, it will be a wasteland, and not the major source of income it has been since 1991.

Setting aside the "patriotic" values of an imaginary state (the Ukraine) "re-taking" its historical lands (at least in their imagination), the Donbass has zero value and therefore neither the junta nor the US will ever agree to such a trade.

You might ask why the Ukies are fighting so hard to get their hands on a useless piece of land.  It is really simple.

So what is the fight really all about?

First, remember, the Ukies decide nothing.  It's Uncle Sam.  And Uncle Sam wants a new Cold War, Uncle Sam fosters wars and crises everywhere, because that is crucial to justify NATO and because it keeps the dollar going.  For Uncle Sam, a decade long war in the Donbass is perfect: make them accursed Russkies pay for Syria, get NATO closer to Russia's border, scare the crap of out the Europeans, crash the Euro in the process, and justify NATO.  What could be better?!

But the junta also has a need for war.  For one thing, it provide the perfect scapegoat: Putin, the Moskals, the all-powerful FSB, etc.  That also creates an atmosphere of fear, which is excellent for police powers, human and civil rights abuses, etc.  It also allows the Nazis to hunt for "saboteurs" and "Russian agents" (anybody who disagrees with their ideology or policies).  A war is also a perfect way to explain the crisis.  It is even a way to make great money: Kolomoiski has already made millions by overcharging the Ukie military for fuel.  Last but not least, wars create chaos and thugs always like chaos and lawlessness: that is an environment they always prosper in.

So both Uncle Sam and his Nazi junta in Kiev want war, not the Donbass.

What does that mean for Russia?

Well, we have established that Russia cannot allow the US plan for the Ukraine to succeed.  Russia cannot allow a unitary Nazi and NATO state on its western border.  We also have established that no deal can be made, there is nothing to negotiate simply because neither Uncle Sam nor the Nazi junta have any interest at all in any form of negotiations.  The only possible conclusion from this is that Russia has only one option left: victory.  Or, if you prefer, total defeat for the junta in Kiev and for Uncle Sam.

In reality, Russia has no choice

I want to stress here that this is not strictly speaking a "choice".  Think of it this way: if I point a gun at your chest and say 'your money or your life' you do, I suppose, have kind of a "choice", but we don't really call that a choice, do we?  Same here, Russia does, of course, have the choice to put her very existence at risk, but no sane Russian ruler could ever agree to let a unitary Nazi Ukraine on the Russian border.  So Russia has to resist this outcome.  Russia must defeat this US/Nazi alliance and its goals.  And for this the Nazi junta in Kiev must fall.

To put it simply: Russia's real goal in the Ukraine is regime change.

Nothing short of that will do.  Russia must absolutely de-Nazify at least most of the Ukraine, at the very least everything west of the Dniepr and probably even Kiev.  If Russia had a common border with a normal, sane, Ukraine and that Ukraine had a common border with some kind of small Galician Banderastan, then Russia probably could live with it. But such a mini-Banderastan would be either highly subversive to the rest of the Ukraine or non-viable.  I cannot imagine that.  Besides, chances are that even the folks in the western Ukraine will come to their senses sooner or later and realize that Nazism is good for nobody, not even for them.

The Ukie freak show
Right now, the Ukrainian people have clearly gone mad.  The latest poll shows that pedophile maniac Liashko as the most popular political figure in Banderastan.  Followed by Iulia Timoshenko and Vitalii Klichko.  Looks terrible, of course, but look at those numbers again: all the candidates shown here together get 74%.  So what about the remaining 26%?  Whom would they pick?

When you have the most popular politician at 23.1% and the six most popular ones together at 74% - you know that you have a country in a deep political crisis.  And also, we are not told why the polled Ukrainians picked these figures?  Okay, to pick Liashko you have to be a raving lunatic or a drooling idiot or both.  But what about the rest?  Maybe they were picked not as the best, but as the "least worst"?  Whatever may be the case, I suspect that most Ukrainians are decent, mentally sane, and basically good people.  Sure, there is a large number of freaks amongst them, but that is normal in a country which is basically bankrupt and which has undergone 20 years of russophobic neo-Nazi brainwashing.  This has got to change. Sooner or later, this has got to change.

If we add to this the fact that the Ukraine is basically finished economically, dead for all practical purposes, and that no matter what the economic crisis will explode before the end of the year, we can see why regime change might very well happen even without any Russian intervention at all.

The only game plan in town

From the above we can make a three simple and basic conclusions:

1) Under no circumstances can Russia allow Novorussia to fall
2) Regime change in Kiev is a vital Russian strategic goal
3) Moscow will only move in its military forces as a last resort

Now Putin's game plane become, I think, clear: keep Novorussia capable of resisting while waiting for regime change in Kiev.  This, of course, does not mean that Russia's aid will become official, though it might, especially if the Ukies go crazy and the humanitarian situation get's worse.  Furthermore, and cynical as this may sound, the war in Novorussia is a fantastic factor of psychological mobilization of the people in Russia and in Novorussia.  Again, let's face it, what I call the "resistance potential" of Novorussia is far from being achieved and most Novorussians are still observing it all on TV.  But now that Slaviansk has fallen and it looks that Donetsk and Lugansk are next and now that Ukie artillery can already been heard downtown, you can rest assured that more and more Novorussians are going to realize that this is not a war they can simply observe on their TV sets: they voted for independence en masse, now they will have to defend that choice, also en masse.

As for Russia, I can assure you that the daily barrage of horrible, outrageous and infuriating news from the Ukraine has already had a huge impact in Russia.  Just consider these figures which a Kremlin official has released yesterday.  Officially, there are now 481'268 refugees from the Ukraine in Russia,  414'726 in the border region (Rostov) alone, and 20'461 have already applied for refugee status.  So while the US State Department denies the reality of this phenomenon or, alternatively, explains it by the fresh air of the "Rostov mountains" (no such thing) or by people "visiting their grannies", the Russian audiences are shown huge Il-76 heavy transport aircraft regurgitating entire families, long lines of refugees on Russian border posts (which, by the way, the Ukies regularly strike "by mistake"), popular music groups (such as DDT) make concerts to collect assistance funds, entire tent cities build by (the world class) EMERCOM and scores of refugees are hosted all over Russia in hotels, families or even specially built centers.  So please don't kid yourself, if the horrors in the Donbass are "not seen" by the western Ziomedia, they are a daily feature on all Russian news media and this barrage of events is having a deep and long-term effect on the general population.

The good news for Novorussia and Russia

Banderastan is doomed.  Right now, it is artificially kept alive by western aid, by Russian gas (illegally diverted into reserves this Spring) and, mostly, by inertia.  Just like a big train cannot stop immediately, so a big state like the (now defunct) Ukraine cannot just crash overnight.  But if is losing its momentum at a dizzying speed.  Moscow has turned off the gas, foreign loans will barely cover the interests on the Ukie debt and the war in the East of the country is not only costing billions, but it is destroying the infrastructure of the richest part of the former Ukraine.  The Kiev junta is composed of incompetent freaks who have no idea at all as to how to tackle the real problems and who, therefore, literally only execute Uncle Sams orders.  As for Uncle Sam, not only does he not give a damn about the Ukies and their pathetic Banderastan - he is quite happy with having set-off such a huge crisis right between the EU and Russia.

What about the so-called "anti-terrorist operation" against Novorussia?  Well, let's just say that the new Minister of Defense of Banderastan has exactly zero military experience and that he has already announced that the Ukie strategy will be to encircle and blockade Lugansk and Donetsk.  Yup, that's right, the Ukies have already announced that they will not try to take these cities.  Of course, since the junta has always lied about everything, we can be pretty darn sure that they will give it a shot, but since their chances of success are close to zero (offensive urban operations negate almost all Ukie advantages), they have already announced that this is not a goal.

[As a side bar, I would note here that something interesting happened: following the Ukie "victory" in Slaviank, a whole number of top-raking Ukie security officials have been fired and replaced.  What does that tell you about the real meaning of what happened?]

There is no doubt that time is on Russia's side and that the collapse of the entire Banderastani state is inevitable within the next 4-6 months.  What really remains to be seen is whether Novorussia will be able to resist without overt Russian help for that long.  My guess is that yes, it will, but with the Ukie takeover of the entire northwest part of Novorussia (the greater area around the Slavianks-Kramatorsk) the Novorussian have no more strategic depth.  Now it's "not a step back" time both for Novorussia and for Russia herself.  Another Ukie success could turn the tide, especially psychologically.  It is one thing to surrender an indefensible town, quite another to lose Gorlovka or Snezhnoe and risk losing the Krasnyi Luch - Antartsit node.  If these key nodes get overrun by the Ukies the defense of Luganska and Donestk will become Novorussia's last stand.

In conclusion - dispelling a few myths

There are a couple of myths I think need to be dispelled in conclusion. The first one is that resistance was futile, that Strelkov or Putin (or both) did the the Novorussians what Papa Bush did to the Iraqi Shia: told them to rise up only to let them be massacred.  In fact, this idea assumes that Nazis can act without terror and massacres.  So let me remind you here that there was no uprising, no Strelkov, in Odessa, which nonetheless got its massacre and which now lives in a daily regime of terror.  Furthermore, the same regime of terror can now be found in Kharkov which, initially, also wanted to join Novorussia, but whose resistance was very effectively crushed by the SBU and the Right Sector thugs.  The same goes for Mariupol.  All these cities now live in an atmosphere of fear, ruled by the death squads and gang of thugs of the local oligarchs to whom these cities were literally *given* by the junta (folks like Kolomoiski or his henchman Palitsa in Odessa).  Against Nazis you are always better off resisting to your last bullet and the solution for the Nazi occupied part of the Ukraine is still the same one: resistance, struggle and regime change in Kiev.  To blame the war on Putin and/or Strelkov is simply ludicrous.

Then there is the comparison between Crimea and the Donbass.  Simply put, there is nothing to compare.  These are completely different region with a radically different geography and a completely different ethnic and ideological makeup.  To simply say that Putin could have done in Donbass what he did in Crimea completely overlooks the reality on the ground.  There is absolutely no reason at all to believe that the people of Novorussia are all united in a desire to become part of Russia like the people in Crimea were.  Sure, they did vote for sovereignty, but that could mean anything, from a  sovereign entity in a federal or confederal Ukraine, to an independent status to becoming part of the Russian Federation.  We should not confuse anti-Nazi feelings and anti-Ukrainian feelings.  One can hate the Nazi junta in Kiev and still want to remain Ukrainian in his/her identity.  So yes, there are clear signs that the Donbass wants nothing to do with the Nazi regime now in power in Kiev, but from that we cannot automatically conclude that a majority of Novorussians want the Donbass to become part of Russia.  This might be changing right now with this war, but we don't know that yet.

Lastly, there is the issue of Russian global power.  Some believe that Russia is weak and simply cannot afford an overt and global struggle against the AngloZionist Empire.  They point out, correctly, that Russia is dependent on many foreign imports (pharmaceuticals, computer chips, etc.).  Other claim that Russia is almost invulnerable, that it could afford a frontal economic confrontation with the West and prevail.  Neither of these claims are true.

Russia is dependent on foreign imports for many things.  And there is a lot of Russian money aboard, in UK banks and in offshore accounts.  The Russian economy is doing "okay" at best, but with all of the EU in a recession, there are pretty good signs that Russia is getting there too.  And this is normal - just 15 years ago Russia was close to becoming a failed state, like the Ukraine today, and what Putin managed is a quasi-miracle, but even quasi-miracles take time and Russia is far, very far, from having truly recovered her health.  There are also major systemic problems inside Russia, such as corruption, capital flight, a crazy interest rate policy, most Russian companies incorporated abroad, a sub-par taxing system, etc.  Yes, Russia is doing better and better, it has huge reserves of money, natural and human resources, and the long-term prospects are nothing short of excellent.  Alas, this already happened in Russia history.

"Give Russia 20 years of peace"
The brilliant reformer and Prime Minister of Russia Piotr Stolypin once famously said: "Give Russia 20 years of inner and outer peace and you won’t recognize her.”  He was murdered by a revolutionary in 1911 and we all know what happened afterwards.  Putin was never given his 20 years of peace either, and it sure does not look that he will ever get it, and neither will Russia, at least not as long as the AngloZionists occupy the planet.  And that means that Russia will not recover her full health and her full potential any time soon either.  In other words, whether or not Russia could somehow survive a full scale confrontation with the West is immaterial - what matters is that Russia has a strategic interest to do everything in her power to avoid it.  This is why Putin is so careful and this is probably why 60% of Russian do not want the Russian military to enter Novorussia: they don't want to compromise what has been achieved as such great cost and effort by Putin's Russia in the past 15 years.  Again, if there is really no other way to save Novorussia from a Nazi takeover, the Russian military will most probably enter Novorussia.  But I think that the Kremlin has a mandate from the Russian people to keep that option as the one for an absolute last resort (with minor or even limited military actions always, and by definition, possible).

The Saker