Let’s Sanction Those Pesky Russians

Kiev’s envoy at the Trilateral Contact Group Leonid Kuchma says it is impossible to talk about elections or constitutional changes in Eastern Ukraine without resuming control over the Ukraine-Russian Federation border.

Here’s the text of the Minsk II agreement. (My italics) “9. Restore control of the state border to the Ukrainian government in the whole conflict zone, which has to start on the first day after the local election and end after the full political regulation (local elections in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts based on the law of Ukraine and Constitutional reform) by the end of 2015, on the condition of fulfillment of Point 11 – in consultations and in agreement with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group.”

Let’s blame the Russians for not sticking to the Minsk Agreement, shall we?

The Yawning Heights of New Ibansk


(My title is a tribute to Зияющие Высоты by Aleksandr Zinoviev which I read years ago. We all now live the Total Ism in New Ibansk.)

As the West spirals down the toilet there are occasional – well, truth to tell, not so occasional – signposts of decline along the way. One is this piece from The Guardian; the title is pretty self-explanatory. “Europe is in crisis. Once more, America will have to step in to save us.” By one Natalie Nougayrède, she starts off comparing Joe Biden to George Marshall. To which one can only say !.

In essence Washington has to save Europe from Brexit; save it from Russia’s “military offensive” (such a slow-moving one, isn’t it? still not past Donetsk airport after months of fighting and dozens of invasions.) And take a few more Syrian refugees.

Oh, and US President Obama maybe should put Churchill’s bust back in the White House.

There. Fixed that, didn’t she?

But the interesting fact is not that the editors of The Guardian thought it worth while to devote space and, one assumes a fee, to this pitiful tripe but the reactions of the readers. I invite you to look through the comments – 800+ so far – and find one that is not completely scornful and contemptuous of what Nougayrède has written.

Here are some:

So then: to ‘save’ the EU, the US should attempt to influence a UK referendum, take some unspecified military action against Russia, and accept many more Syrian refugees even though most migrants entering the EU are not Syrians.
Yes, that sounds like a plan.

Bonkers logic there again from Natalie Nougayrede.

Yep,cos it’s not as if US foreign policy has triggered crisis in the middle east or prodding the bear has resulted in Putin’s actions in Ukraine. America can do no wrong,of course.

the last thing is to let the USA into our problems, it was they who started it in the first place

So the EU is a complete failure get out now and lets make our own decisions

Europeans can perfectly well look after themselves thanks… given that they get rid of the impenetrable layer of self serving fuckwits that run the place. THEY are the problem – not ‘Europeans’.

It seems that Natalie, whom I may have assumed wrongly is French, has fallen off the edge of her right wing flat earth and not heard that among many thinking people the U.S. has acquired the title of the ’empire of chaos’. Europe could certainly do without any more of that.

I don’t know if the Europeans will rise up, march on Brussels and raze it to the ground some day or whether they have become so morally emaciated that, as many Americans apparently are doing, they drink themselves to death in despair.

But, eventually, one way or the other, this will stop and New Ibansk will fall as Old Ibansk fell.

Today’s Putin Quotation

If we’re looking at a mechanism for settling complicated issues such as these, our position is clear: this mechanism exists in the form of the United Nations and its Security Council. There is no other such universal mechanism in the world today. I believe that only through the United Nations can we resolve these kinds of problems, by being patient, working together, taking each other’s interests into account and acting in accordance with international law.

Putin, Press conference, 20 June 2003, answering question about Iraq,


Today’s Quotation About Putin

The Putin regime is beginning to resemble that of Leonid Brezhnev, who never stirred the waters and always maintained the status quo – while sending troops into Afghanistan in a show of might that turned out to be illusory. The Putin administration may be remembered in a similar way – for having maintained the status quo at a very high price, including a bloody war in Chechnya.

The Russia Journal, “An empty address” 18 May 2003 http://russiajournal.com/node/15335

Don’t Get Stuck in the Details, It’s Not That Complicated


The recent Litvinenko report has set me thinking. I’ve been writing about the affair (here from 2007) and reading about it since it happened. The story metastasises on and on. Scaramella comes and goes. First it was thallium, then it was polonium. The Chechen connection. A man who doesn’t speak much English suddenly writes a fluent death note. Berezovskiy loses all his money, begs Putin to let him back into Russia and then kills himself. Then there are the endless details of who met whom and where and when. New stuff periodically appears (like this video alleging Litvinenko was contaminating places before he was “poisoned”). Mountains of details to examine and argue over. The file grows bigger and bigger but no one is ever persuaded; it gets more and more confusing and the points of argument get smaller and smaller.

But there’s a much simpler approach that cuts out this interminable minutiae. William of Ockham would like it. And it’s simply this: if Putin had decided to have Litvinenko killed, there is absolutely no way he would have chosen this method. Natasha has nailed it. Therefore, whatever happened to Litvinenko, it has nothing to do with Putin. QED.

Weapons inspectors arrive in Syria to check whether Assad is using chemical weapons. As their plane is landing, about an hour’s drive away, Assad launches a CW attack on civilians. No way. No one is that stupid. Therefore, whoever did it wasn’t Assad. Don’t bother arguing with Bellingcat’s chin pulling, any rational person can figure that out. QED.

US Secretary of State John Kerry assures us that the US has all the data, who fired it, where it came from and everything else relating to MH17. But we’ve never seen a smidgeon of it or any explanation why we haven’t. Anybody can figure out that, if the evidence were there, we would have seen it. Therefore the rebels didn’t do it. No need to argue over a billboard on some grainy film. QED.

Who did do these things? Well, now we have to dive into the minutiae and argue about this and that. But an intelligent twelve-year old can figure out 1) not Putin 2) not Assad 3) not the rebels. QED.

But there are still some questions. Who is so contemptuous of us that he (or she) expects us to believe that Putin would chose such a roundabout method of assassination and one that immediately made people point at him? Who thinks we’re stupid enough believe that Assad would practically gas the inspectors? Who thinks we can’t figure out that the gigantic US intelligence organisation must have seen something and, if they haven’t showed it to us, what it must have been?

Questions for a later time: I have a theory but I’m still thinking.

Today’s Quotation About Putin

Putin, of course, is no Peter. The KGB lieutenant colonel who was abruptly bumped into the presidential throne of a nation in total disarray comes nowhere near “the Great” in ambition, potential, drive or physical height.

Serge Schmemann, “THE WORLD: Czar Peter, Meet Putin; Eastern or Western? Both. And Neither.”, New York Times, March 12, 2000 http://www.nytimes.com/2000/03/12/weekinreview/the-world-czar-peter-meet-putin-eastern-or-western-both-and-neither.html

Maybe It Could Possibly or Even Probably be a Load of Codswallop

Here is the Litvinenko report https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/files/Litvinenko-Inquiry-Report-web-version.pdf

The word “probably” occurs 35 times; “possibly” 12; “maybe” 3; “perhaps” 35; “could be” 29.

The reader is invited to look for more incidents of what is basically “I dunno, but I’m going to say it anyway”.

Today’s Quotation about Putin

Today there is a new president, Vladimir Putin. It is not at all clear if democracy is his ultimate goal. What is clear is that his authoritarian methods are focused on restoring a centralized Russian state whose power relies on fear, not persuasion or education. He presides over a group of criminal oligarchs, former KGB and military men, and old communist apparatchiks, most of whom would have been right at home in the higher echelons of the Soviet government. Intelligence agents are now part of the presidential directorate; special military counterintelligence departments have been restored. ‘You can’t get anywhere without secret agents,’ Putin has said. Putin expresses pride in his own KGB background, without seeming to understand how the KGB made the Soviet Union a place of fear, even terror, for most of the past century.

Mortimer B. Zuckerman, editor-in-chief, “A Great Step Backward”,  U.S. News & World Report, October 9, 2000 http://www.russialist.org/archives/4556.html##5