Saturday, January 22, 2022

Tether

I never link to creepy Jacobin, but I thought this was interesting:  "Cryptocurrency Is a Giant Ponzi Scheme" (Mortazavi). 

Still doesn't beat Israel, which has been saying an Iranian nuclear bomb is 'imminent' since the early 90s:

"Mayor comments on ‘Russian occupation’ fears cited by Zelensky". 

The 'American' position is entirely a bluff, which means if they actually manage to provoke a war, Russia could just roll over Europe:  "UKRAINE CRISIS: US ‘Toolboxes’ Are Empty" (Ritter): 

"Biden and his administration are old hands at lying to the American public when it comes to matters of national security. One only need look to Biden’s July 23, 2021, phone call with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for a clear precedent into this inability to speak openly and honestly about reality on the ground. “I need not tell you,” Biden told Ghani, “the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban. And there is a need,” Biden added, “whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”

This, in a nutshell, is the essence of the posture taken by the Biden administration on Ukraine. Blinken has indicated that the U.S. has a toolbox filled with options that will deliver “massive consequences” to Russia should Russia invade Ukraine. These “tools” include military options, such as the reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank with additional U.S. troops, and economic options, such as shutting down the NordStream 2 pipeline and cutting Russia off from the SWIFT banking system. All these options, Blinken notes, have the undivided support of U.S. European allies and partners.

The toolbox is everywhere, it seems—Biden has referred to it, as has White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Blinken has alluded to it on numerous occasions.

There’s only one problem—the toolbox, it turns out, is empty.

While the Pentagon is reportedly working on a series of military options to reinforce the existing U.S. military presence in eastern Europe, the actual implementation of these options would neither be timely nor even possible. One option is to move forces already in Europe; the U.S. Army maintains one heavy armored brigade in Europe on a rotational basis and has a light armored vehicle brigade and an artillery brigade stationed in Germany. Along with some helicopter and logistics support, that’s it.

Flooding these units into Poland would be for display purposes only—they represent an unsustainable combat force that would be destroyed within hours, if not days, in any large-scale ground combat against a Russian threat.

The U.S. can deploy a second heavy armored brigade to Poland which would fall in on prepositioned equipment already warehoused on Polish soil. This brigade would suffer a similar fate if matched up against the Russian army. The U.S. can also deploy an airborne brigade. They, too, would die.

There are no other options available to deploy additional U.S. heavy forces to Europe on a scale and in a timeframe that would be meaningful. The problem isn’t just the deployment of forces from their bases in the U.S. (something that would takes months to prepare for), but the sustainability of these forces once they arrived on the ground in Europe. Food, ammunition, water, fuel—the logistics of war is complicated, and not resolved overnight.

In short, there is no viable military option, and Biden knows this.

The U.S. has no sanctions plan that can survive initial contact with the enemy, which in this case is the collective weakness of the post-pandemic economies of both Europe and the U.S.; the over-reliance of Europe on Russian-sourced energy, and the vulnerability of democratically elected leaders to the whim of a consumer-based constituency. Russia can survive the impact of any sanctions regime the U.S. is able to scrape together—even those targeting the Russian banking system—far longer than Europe can survive without access to Russian energy.

This is a reality that Europe lives with, and while U.S. policy makers might think hard-hitting sanctions look good on paper, the reality is that whatever passes for U.S.-European unity today would collapse in rapid order when the Russian pipelines were shut down. The pain would not just be limited to Europe, either—the U.S. economy would suffer as well, with sky-high fuel prices and a stock market collapse that would put the U.S. into an economic recession, if not outright depression.

The political cost that would be incurred by Biden and, by extension, the Democrats, would be fatal to any hope that might remain for holding onto either house of Congress in 2022, or the White House in 2024. It would be one thing if Biden and his national security team were honest and forthright about the real consequences of declaring the equivalent of economic war on Russia. It is another thing altogether to speak only of the pain sanctions would cause Russia, with little thought, if any, to the real consequences that will be paid on the home front.

Americans should never forget that Russia has been laboring under severe U.S. sanctions since 2014, with zero effect. Russia knows what could be coming and has prepared. The American people wallow in their ignorance, believing at face value what they are told by the Biden administration, and echoed by a compliant mainstream media."

"Anthony Blinken and the intellectual bankruptcy of the Biden Administration" (Doctorow).

"Ready for Another Game of Russian Roulette?" (Franklin).  I think the main message is how much of the stark reality is hidden from the American people by the (((media))).

Signs of life, wanting to stay alive, or at least sanity:  "Germany Blocks NATO Partners From Supplying Its Weapons To Ukraine" (Durden).  "Germany’s New Chancellor Just Refused an Invitation to Meet With Biden" (Crane).

The Russians can multi-task:  "Iran-Russia Hit Maximum Strategy" (Escobar).  Blinken can multi-task too:

The case that Turkey is systematically working to take Russia apart:   "Is Perfidious Erdogan Destroying Russia for The Great Turan?" (Engdahl):

". . . the person named head of Britain’s MI-6 foreign intelligence in June 2020 is Richard Moore. Moore is a Turkish specialist who spent three years as an MI-6 agent in Turkey in the early 1990s and as Ambassador to Turkey in 2014-2017. The role of MI-6 against Russia is obviously far deeper than many imagine. The fact that a Turkish expert has been named head of MI-6 is highly significant and suggests the British-American intelligence agencies use of Erdoğan’s Turkey to destabilize the entire Muslim former Soviet Union is highly probable. The opportunist Erdoğan is clearly happy to be of help to his Anglo-American friends in this."

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