Quick Ukraine Update

Ukraine still simmers and despite so many foreign policy pundits wailing about Putin’s imminent military invasion of eastern Ukraine, so far Putin seems to be holding back.  The interim quasi-government in Kiev made some military moves in eastern Ukraine over the weekend,  trying to reestablish control and so far Russia issued calls for more talks with Western leaders to defuse the situation, insisting they can not control the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.  The Kiev government’s actions increased the instability and with the deaths in Odessa of pro-Russian demonstrators, more violence seems a given.  Pro-Russian demands for Russian protection escalated, but Putin seems hesitant to initiate an all-out military intervention into eastern Ukraine.

Nightwatch offers a succinct analysis and report on current developments, citing the deaths of pro-Russian demonstrators in Odessa on Saturday, which resulted from clashes with Kiev supporters.

The West continues to bounce, continuing with what JK referred to as “trampoline sanctions”, as the Russian spokesman suggested we might want to use a trampoline to get to the ISS space station a few days ago.  Stratfor breaks down the imposition of sanctions against Russia with a good background on sanctions – “The US Opts for Ineffective Sanctions on Russia”.

The Indepdendent in UK reports: “Ukraine crisis: Kremlin insists it cannot control pro-Russian separatists and calls for dialogue with West”.

Expect John Kerry to bounce higher, grasping at moonbeams…… more hollow sanctions.  The Ukraine unrest looks likely to heat up.  Putin might decide to intervene directly if more pro-Russians die in clashes with Kiev forces.  It seems obvious that Russia would rather fight this as a proxy war , without directly engaging Russian forces.

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17 responses to “Quick Ukraine Update

  1. Minta Marie Morze

    The trampoline comment about the space station was inspired—and it breaks my heart, as one of those who has watched our entire space program start up brilliantly only to finally die away in a whimper. We Americans are not used to being on the receiving end of that kind of snarky put-down, but we can solace ourselves with the knowledge that it is the United States, and not America itself, that has earned the insult. America reaches for the stars—the United States, losing contact with so much that is America, practices bowing, and might be considering kneepads for the next stages in the future.

    Ukraine knows how ineffective any outside help will be, is in serious trouble, and things will get worse as the Putin slow-moving-plan succeeds. Putin is playing a very clever game, and his success or failure will not depend on sanctions; it will depend on how much of eastern Ukraine he can slowly usurp before he he reaches a kind of gray area beyond which he will lose more than he can win without all-out war. At that point, the movement of peoples to each side of the country, crossing each other’s paths as they vote with their feet (and traveling with whatever they can carry), will be significant. Putin is probably hoping that he can maximize the infiltrated area before he has to make the decision about standing pat or going for even more—at some point, the gains will be enough.

    Eventually, new borders will be drawn up, just as now we have to color Crimea differently on our world maps.

    As the Stratfor guy writes: “In a world clamoring for action, prudent leaders sometimes prefer the appearance of doing something to actually doing something.” From the beginning of his presidency, Obama has fostered the appearance of doing one thing, while acting below the radar to do something quite different. He is not being prudent—he’s being transformative. Like Putin, he is causing sporadic ideological eruptions throughout the United States, probing for the moment that he will be in the same sort of position Putin will be in—there will come a point at which he will have to decide on how much force he can openly bring into play to gain whatever it is he will settle for. The new borders will be legal and intellectual—how much of America will still be embedded in the United States?

    The world is in a state of slow warfare throughout its expanse, and the near future is going to get very, very ugly soon.

    Quo Vadis?

  2. I think Putin reacted to American-orchestrated regime-change in Ukraine and felt Russian interests in Crimea were at risk. I don’t believe he wants the rest of Ukraine, as in planting a Russian flag there. It looks like the Russians would prefer to plant pro-Russian Ukrainians in power in Ukraine and continue business as usual there. The Russians are well-acquainted with the difficulties of dealing with the various factions in Ukraine and Putin wants to play on the world stage, not get bogged down in another messy insurgency like Chechyna. I may be naive, but his actions don’t strike me as he has some huge “master plan” to reconstruct the former USSR.

    The US isn’t being prudent, imho, but having total nicompoops running the show, they don’t know what to do and acting like they are doing something saves face with the same sorts who support them (other nincompoops, at home and abroad).

    I almost feel sorry for Putin and Lavrov having to listen to John Kerry and Obama pontificate. Kerry drones on and on, more supercilious as he gains steam.

    Obama wants to incite a class war, playing the race card to the max. He’s still got people like Van Jones actively working from the safety of think tanks to do the leg work. Foreign affairs remains a distraction for Obama, because his focus is on his domestic transformation.

    Without some swift course corrections, Minta, at some point we crash. The numbers relying on government assistance keep growing, while the numbers working don’t. The Fed has printed so much fiat money that at some point (looks like it’s imminent) that stops working. Other bubbles are going to burst, and then, well, the prospects for a nice painless government fix are nil.

  3. JK

    There’s much in your comment Minta deserving of address but there’s something LibertyBelle includes I consider might be “backed and forthed” some – in other words, I’d appreciate reading other’s thoughts on what I think maybe Putin knew (strategy) even before the annexation of Crimea.

    I think it’s a given everybody agrees the “main thing” to’ve been, securing warm water port access.
    ___________________

    … but Putin seems hesitant …

    I’m thinking back to that post LibertyBelle put up some period back (weeks?) featuring a link to a map titled something like “Everything You Need To Know About Ukraine.” And I figure ‘we civilians’ were pretty much in the know to what our “effective countering policies/tactics” would likely form up as – sanctions of course [Kabuki Theater or what John McCain amongst others Right[ish] and Left fully appreciate as the electorate’s 140 characters or less attention span] … and sending nominal detachments to the V-4. And some variation along the same lines from the IMF.

    Visegrad: A New European Military Force is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

    _____________________

    Personally, I don’t think Putin’s “hesitancy” is anything other than very calculated deliberateness. He had to *know (LB’s linked map & Anna Raccoon) what the likeliest result would be – the perfect illustration of the US [leaving relatively a unbesmirched EU] as a Power begging a pharmacist for a Viagra prescription.

    Actually were I not a patriotic citizen of the US I’d applaud Vlad for accomplishing a feat usually, and generally speaking promised by every candidate running for office as my POTUS, transparency in Government.
    ______________________

    And … although I expect “I might” receive a little (well maybe more than a little) heat for saying so – Obama should have done precisely what [presumably UN Ambassador Bolton advised] GW did when Georgia received same.

    I’m figuring Bolton’s advice probably went something like this

    “Sit down and shut up. The only thing we stand to gain when Geography presents us a range of Everests is, begging a pharmacist to save us from looking like unrefrigerated weenies.”

  4. JK

    I see you’ve posted while I was LB, I pray I didn’t step on anything sensitive.

  5. The only thing we stand to gain when Geography presents us a range of Everests is, begging a pharmacist to save us from looking like unrefrigerated weenies.”

    Now there’s a quote to remember for the ages!!! I can’t stop laughing.

    • JK

      Well my Friend, mine I hope was to you so “funny” as I read your’s back when the BlackHawk landed and you asked,

      “Who has the right-of-way?”

      Forgive me – but that was funny.

      (I’ll return Minta – just not right now. Supper.

      But I did notice a “Pal” of mine commented elsewhere – for what it’s worth:

      Do read the whole thing … & “My Pal” is a commenter … (LB? …)

      http://20committee.com/2014/05/03/ground-truth-about-benghazi/

  6. Able

    LB

    “I think Putin reacted to American-orchestrated regime-change in Ukraine and felt Russian interests in Crimea were at risk. “

    I felt sufficiently moved by this simple acceptance of the Putin media machines line that I had to comment.

    The regime change was not ‘orchestrated’ however much certain people may want to have that believed. Think about it for a minute. These are the very same people who can’t run a brothel at a profit, who have made so many foreign policy blunders (Syria, Iraq, Libya,……). Yet now we are to assume they can organise a disparate cross-section of every political faction (from across the entire country) in Ukraine to suddenly ‘spontaneously’ rebel, on command? Seriously? Were Russia’s interests in Crimea ‘ever’ threatened? Or are we just to believe that little bit of propaganda too?

    Did the US and EU attempt to bring closer ties and cooperation with Ukraine? Yes. Just like they’ve done with all the other former Soviet block, including Russia. And this was threatening how?

    To believe this is anything other than a Russian play (in its entirety) is, quite frankly, hopelessly naïve. (the numbers of people, and more importantly the priority they were given, we had in Ukraine pre-event wouldn’t have been able to organise a five-aside football/soccer match, us against you [we’d have won incidentally] let alone all they are accused of).

    As to the ‘pro-Russian demonstrators/separatists’? Well, speaking as one with some close contact (sometimes way too close) they aren’t. What? They aren’t Russo-Ukrainians, they are ‘Russian’ citizens, and many aren’t even resident in Ukraine (they were bussed in for the ‘show’, amazing how many ex-Russian-military ‘spontaneously’ decided to ‘holiday’ in Ukraine isn’t it?). Most Ukrainians (and I’m including Russophone and Russophile Ukrainians in Crimea) want to retain close ties to Russia, but they certainly don’t want to ‘be part’ of Russia (a common phrase is ‘we don’t need or want protecting’). They also (by >53%) wanted closer ties to Europe (about 12% undecided).

    But what about all those ‘spontaneous demonstrations’?– orchestrated (courtesy of GRU with Russian participants). Seizures of installations by ‘pro-Russian separatists’ – Spetznaz, and 16th at that, meaning direct GRU control). What about all those ‘defections of Ukrainian officers’? Have a look how many of the officers in question have family inside Russia, standard GRU play-book is to threaten those within reach, …. (part of the problem the Ukrainians face, after holding back so long at our politicians insistence [remember those troops ordered not to fire on ‘protesters’ (Spetznaz) stealing their weapons so as not to inflame the situation], is to ensure no-one who has been compromised remains in positions of influence).

    There is no real ‘ethnic’ division in Ukraine (or even by language), what divisions exist are whoely ‘political’ (but no more than those between your average Rep and Dem – or maybe not quite ‘that’ bad). Look at Odessa, supposedly an area with a majority Russophile population yet the majority patently didn’t support the separatists (most of whom weren’t even Ukrainians by the way, and no it wasn’t the deliberate massacre it was/is portrayed as).

    Putin isn’t ‘being smart’ or ‘hesitant’, he’s merely following the standard play yet again, disrupt the area, elections and then use them as an excuse for whichever follow on allows the greatest gains.

    So why do it at all? Because Russia is a failing state (even more, much more, than Europe and the US) and he ‘needs’ the cash and resources, but much more importantly, he needs to distract his own populace from the corruption (you think Ukraine was bad, they were amateurs in comparison).

    The best bit? All those ‘Ukrainians’ and Russians supporting Putin commenting on the diverse news and blog sites – talk to the average Russian in the projekts (and when they’re satisfied you’re not FSB) they’ll deride him for a fascist dictator – nope ‘all’ those ‘pro’ comments are coming directly out of Lubyanka and Khondinka, and our ‘journalists parrot the words faithfully – typical!

    I know ‘you’ are a fair and impartial observer, but please don’t assume that ‘any’ of the ‘accepted journalistic wisdom’ about this has any more truth than AGW or ‘we need more gun control’.

    Just sayin’

    JK

    I ‘still’ aiten’t dead (although after Odessa/Donetsk I ‘may’ need some new keks – talk about pucker factor).

    • Able,
      Thank you for you insights! Knowing you have a much closer view of the situation, I’ll accept that you know the ground truth on the ins and outs of how the Russians are operating. Before hand, I do believe the US antics by our State Department flunkies went way beyond trying to seek closer western ties with Ukraine. The conveniently leaked Nuland phone calls, with her brassy declarations as to who could be part of the post-Yanukovych government, seems like provocation to me. This same State Department flunkie managed to insult our European allies too. Now leaking her call, in a “divide and conquer” gambit was a very amazing piece of Russian propaganda, because that pushy woman gave them cover for action to secure Russian control in Crimea, while causing discord in the American-European alliance.

      The news pundits in America, by in large, present the White House’s spin on events, not the Russian propaganda. And, we’ve got a lot of Cold War saber-rattling going on. The press coverage has been very much aligned with your sentiments on Russian aggression and my view would fall into a decidedly fringe view.

      At the end of the day, President Obama won’t do more than lob more pointless sanctions and there’s no interest in any closer US involvement in Ukraine. There are major Congressional elections this fall and he’s too busy fund-raising and campaigning for Democrats.

  7. Minta Marie Morze

    At UCLA, in the 1970s, I majored in Mathematics and minored in Physics, so my knowledge of history and politics is from reading. My comments are just my suppositions, and I am always glad to modify or change my opinions as I learn more. So this is just my understanding right now. Simply put.

    Before, and especially during, World War II, there was a simultaneous war, mapped over the same geography and using many of the same civilians, combatants, weaponry, intelligence, and underground movements, between the Left Communists and the Left Nazi’s/Facists/Whatevers. They were fighting for the power they planned on having after the war, and they wiped out as many of those on the other side as they could, maneuvering themselves into positions where they would be of use to their ideologies throughout the continent. They also wiped out as many of the intelligentsia, social, political, military, and religious leadership, teachers, etc., of the populations of the conquered areas as they could. (Katyn Forest, concentration camps, etc.) An ideological war within the Left within the World War. At the very end of the war, there was a huge push by the Communists to finish off as many of their opposition as possible, and to place themselves into positions of power, ready for the Big Push that they knew would come after the war.

    Immediately after World War II, the Russians pulled the same sort of games with disruptions in what was to become the Eastern Bloc, followed by power moves to “re-establish the peace and rule of law”, utilizing their long-established communist followers in the different countries. They did it again with the Hungarian Revolution and, mutatis mutandis, with the Prague Spring. The more things change, the more they stay the same. (I was barely 19 at the time of the Prague Spring, living in the San Fernando Valley, where I grew up. I remember distinctly—one of those memories where you can even see the place you stood and your surroundings, and remember every word said—I remember my Mother, who grew up during the Depression and lived through WWII, saying, “Well, Dubcek is doomed. The tanks will show up any day now.” And I, echoing foolish youth throughout the ages, said, “Mom! It’s 1968!”—yes, I actually said that—“Everything is changed now. No one’s going to bring in tanks. Good Grief!” The next day, the very next day, literally, Russian tanks showed up and Dubcek was sort of “retired”. One learns, one remembers.)

    The Left, other Collectivists, and other criminal camp-followers, have been doing much the same, though using more subtle means than they could use during occasional shooting wars, through the whole century, everywhere they could, using terror, secret police, etc., where they could, and co-opting institutions and people and in general sabotaging what they couldn’t co-opt or suborn (where they couldn’t take over directly). They are joined at present by other Collectivists such as the Islamists, in a slow-motion ideological (Collectivist) world war with occasional hotspots and battlefields. At the moment, hotspots are threatening all over the place, leaving no population untouched. The Left/Collectivists are in place everywhere, as they always are, along with those who play the main chance and side with whatever group they can see as affording the chance to grab some power or make some money.

    Ukraine is one of the hotspots, threatening to become a full conflagration.

    I noticed right off—duh!—the actions of the “insurgents” in Crimea were choreographed and professional, as are the ones in Ukraine now. I know military when I see it. “Votes” are meaningless. I have always known that Russia could not give up its de facto control of Crimea, so that was that; when they needed to, they moved. When I actually looked at a map of the region (thanks, Liberty!), I knew that Putin would already, probably long worked out, have the plans to move to establish a land pathway to Crimea from Russia through Ukraine territory. Inevitable. The rest—how far he goes—will depend, as it always does, on his gain/loss calculations over the next year; however, I would bet that he’ll have his land corridor, with an added buffer, from Russia through Ukraine to Crimea, when the dust settles, no matter what.

    Please feel free to comment—above everything in life, I love to learn things, and fact and truth are more important to me than ego.

  8. Able

    LB

    Nuland is a hack who exemplifies all that other countries see as the worst of America (and can often, falsely, see as typically American), the insularity, obtuseness and overweening arrogance. Unfortunately you have a habit of putting just such hacks in such positions for some reason (Oh, I admit we aren’t much better). (Rice was accepted into the throng with relief, after all you might have sent Sebellius lol).

    I’m sure I’m not revealing any secrets when I say that her sadly presumptuous waffling is hardly unusual, and certainly not unique – try imagining listening to ‘senior Americans’ (cough, cough Willies team) debating who should be in key positions in the UK government (NB. Not The UKR government, my own FFS – pardon the language.).

    As to American coverage? I can’t say I have much current knowledge, being limited to reading the interwebz from afar, so I will bow to your superior opinion (and your overview opinion has as much validity, and maybe more considering ‘too close’ and ‘target fixation’ as my own). The question, as Minta alludes (don’t worry Minta, I’m the archetypal ‘Betamax is best’ guy too, you really don’t want to know some of the unutterably idiotic assumptions/pronouncements I’ve made over the years _ I hope I’m a bit better now as a fervent convert to Murphy’s Rules) is ‘why’ a demonstrably left-leaning press is doing so?

    You might want to check the claims of certain senior Russian intelligence types (specifically GRU and FSB types) surrounding just how many of its ‘operatives’ (meaning those bought, blackmailed, threatened or fellow-travellers) they have in The US and Europe (you should be able to find it yourself, it was open enough at the time. If not, I’m sure JK has it all – and probably some … er, vague conformation). So how does ‘painting Russia as a beleaguered, surrounded bastion’ play to … the Russians, whilst the patently, and deliberately, ineffectual sanctions (which just ‘accidentally’ miss the most lucrative and rewarding ‘deals’ – follow the money, who has investments in certain companies) allow the real ‘do what you want’ (and maybe some slight tacit support) of the current ‘action’.

    The whole ‘O’, and by association America, looks ineffectual, weak and pathetic, thus reducing its power and influence around the world – well, whose play-book does ‘that’ fit with?

    As Minta says, ‘Deja Vu anyone’. Putin is simply following the standard Soviet/Fascist play (I must admit I’ve always struggled to slide a cigarette paper between the beliefs of either of those ‘religions’ – shocking, I know, my ‘lefty’ teachers despaired of me). Care to ask the Rabbi’s just who they are ‘worried’ about in Ukraine at the moment? It certainly isn’t the tiny minority (found in every country) ‘right-wing extremist’ Ukrainians. (Hey, he’s already ‘bigged up’ the ‘master race’ and started on the homoesexuals, how long before there’s something about ‘gypsies’ too).

    Minta

    I, unfortunately, cannot disagree with your assessment of ‘the collectivists’. I view, and suspect I’m not alone in this, this as a mere ‘side-show’, the main-event will be when the ROP types make their move (the only possible enjoyment then will be listening to the wails of ‘betrayal’ from their fellow travellers).

  9. Minta, I think you and Able hold much the same view of the situation. Your assessment of how he took over Crimea, the historical parallels and your prognosis might be exactly right. I see Putin as more calculating and one who weighs the odds. He wants to play on the international stage and getting involved in a hot war in Ukraine would put a lot of kinks in those plans. Partition of Ukraine seems to me what he’d prefer, not getting the whole mixed bag there.

    It’s one thing to brutally suppress Chechen terrorists (or any of their sympathizers), but with the Western press in Ukraine, it’s fraught with potential for PR nightmares best avoided. Adding Able’s description of the operations underway, it seems to me that Putin would like to carry this off without resorting to the tanks rolling in, but he is building the case for further military action to ostensibly “protect” ethnic-Russians in Ukraine. Putin does care about his image, at home and more keenly, abroad. He seeks international prestige for Russia, but mostly for himself. That’s why I think he’ll seek to keep to the plausible deniability track as long as possible and avoid an overt, tanks rolling in action.

    Thanks for your insights, Minta! My opinions are amateur, so yours hold as much weight as mine, maybe more due to your extensive reading. JK and Able are the ones with professional expertise, so I listen to their insights – even though I have a pig-headed, independent streak and disagree with them sometimes 🙂

  10. JK

    It wouldn’t LB, be of so much value to me (and likely Able – albeit in another sort of way – more tangibly) if you didn’t argue your case so forthrightly and vigorously.

    It is very often the case the *experienced do have a tendency toward, in Able’s words “target fixation” though I’d finesse that just a bit with the Americanism, “sporting blinders” — horse-racing term to you Able.

    [*Able? Free to say much, postulate on the *situation re Odessa?]

    The most widely opensourced I suppose Able has in mind is likely along the lines of the more “glamorous” side of things, the “seedier” side of things decent folk seem to shy away from – or at least, placing in blog comments where one might be better off using some degree of discretion:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2179384/Revealed-Anna-Chapmans-Russian-spy-ring-groomed-American-children-spies.html

    By the bye Able, do be sure to contact (if you haven’t already) a *mutual *acquaintance in the vicinity of Texas – I was *surprised by a phonecall. No, he hadn’t managed my area code[s] but I was visiting my Mum.
    ____________________

    Thanks Minta for enlarging on my appreciation.

  11. Able

    JK

    Postulate? Seriously? It was ‘no shit, there I was’ … sitting having a coffee not far from the railway station.

    It’s the expected (hoped and planned by you know who). Was it ‘separatists’ against ‘nationalist’? No, not really. It was the usual thugs, dregs and misfits who ‘always’ use such ‘opportunities’, although (shall we say) ‘set up’ by the local friendly GRU officers.

    There was a football (soccer) match if you can believe it. The fans from both sides supposedly agreed to march from Cathedral Square – the truth is there is always a stream of thousands heading from Chornomorets Stadium to the station anyway. So ‘thousands’ of supporters (some marching for a ‘United Ukraine’ but most heading home for dinner, as well as quite a few ‘just your average citizen/tourist’ types) heading down Hretska Street when they were attacked by a few hundred (3 maybe 4) pro-Russian ‘protesters’. (remember this is a melting-pot city with maybe 30-40% pro-Russians about the same Ukrainian, the rest being Moldovan, Rumanian, Tatar, Jewish, etc.).

    Remember ‘football fans’!?! (some, the tiny minority, extremist ‘any excuse for a fight’ hooligan types had been some ‘few’ of those at Maldan). Smart move? Not really (a simple known fact to any with a brain, and no ‘ulterior motive’).

    Fighting. Missiles (paving stones, rocks and bricks) to begin with but there is some evidence that the (attacking) ‘protesters’ were ‘prepared’ with body-armour, bats, Molotovs and even a few handguns (I suspect, agent provocateurs of being armed more than your average protester – just sayin’).

    Even pre-empting, and prepared, they were badly outnumbered (probably promised it would be otherwise like elsewhere) and were ‘chased’, still brawling towards the station (where I, typically, had just been before all hell broke out, ever get the impression someone ‘up there’ doesn’t like you?) where they had a ‘tent city’ set up (indicative of how many of them were – ‘outsiders’, no?). Check the geography and, whilst most escaped (side-streets and the station) you’ll see why surrounded, outnumbered, etc. they ‘retreated’ to the Trades Union building (residential). (apparently some very few, a couple, may have even lived there). There were other ‘pockets’ elsewhere (planned?) such as the shopping centre – with pre-placed (?) Molotovs, etc.

    What about the police you ask? Well, there will be some very ‘pointed’ questions being asked of them (and the local commander in particular) as there’s much evidence that they not only failed to intervene, but acted to protect/support the pro-Russian attackers.

    Anyway, with scuffles and brawls all around. Random, innocent people being attacked (I’d thank Lynn Thompson for his city stick if I didn’t think Mr. SIG’s 226 had more effect, well that and swearing in English helped quite a bit) a ‘siege’ of sorts occurred, and that’s where it gets interesting.

    Lot’s of shouting, throwing rocks and even the very occasional Molotov from the football fans outside. Some rocks, a very few shots and quite a few Molotov’s from those inside.

    So where did ‘the fire’ break out? The third floor?!? Ever try to throw a bottle full of petrol? Try the third floor from tens of metres away – not going to happen. So the truth? An accident by those who had taken over the flat, deliberate, incompetence, all of the above …. who will ever know? The result, so far 48 dead, probably mostly ‘protesters’, but guaranteed some of the entirely innocent residents caught up in something they knew nothing about.

    As to the videos and claims being made? I saw Ukrainians in the street scrabbling to rescue those inside. To me it was, as usual, useful idiots and total innocents set-up, nothing more nor less.

    As to why? There have been many allegedly ‘spontaneous’ attacks by pro-Russian separatists throughout Eastern Ukraine, look at Donetsk only a few days before (yes, I was in that city too, I swear they’re out to get me, following me, I’m definitely getting rid of that T-shirt with the target on the back). ‘Whoever’ organised this attack knew full well what the result would be (in the general rather than specific). All I can say is I know ‘I’ saw quite a few of the known faces (GRU/FSB) around the periphery of the protesters (our side, me, by accident and caffeine craving) – make of that what you will.

    As to our mutual friend, say hi, I better not send any direct for ‘obvious’ reasons. He’s a normal, nice, honest, patriotic, upstanding citizen type (unlike reprobate thee and me) so he may not appreciate the scrutiny 😉

  12. JK

    Figured as much Able.

    Couldn’t see anything to be done much except for maybe small boats insertion. Hooligans of course. But then ala Forrest Gump, “Hooligans are as hooligans is.”

    I’ve not bothered (nor will) with any videos – such “reports” as I’m receiving are breathless enough – regular channels at any rate. I worry my, LibertyBelle’s and Minta’s “people in whatever channel they all think they’re in” – not ever having bothered studying Geography – are beset with as serious a case of “the vapors” as me, LB & Minta are likely to witness until Representative Howdy Gowdy bangs the gavel bringing the latest version of, The Das-Turd[lies] of the West Wing to the Sean Hannity Show for further ad nauseums until the tables turn again next.

    Until next time Able, do have a care. From my perspective it appears as I’ve supposed, whatever bracketing is taking place is at best, somewhat haphazard.

    I’ll take care of it.

  13. Able,
    Thanks for that action-packed, first-hand account. Minta recently got me started on old Helen MacInnes novels and here you are living the modern-day version. Finished “Assignment in Brittany” and moving on to “While Still We Live” and how some real life cloak and dagger types ended up chatting on my blog still remains one of my life’s greatest mysteries. Glad to hear you weren’t injured!

  14. Able

    Cloak and dagger?

    Hey, I resemble that remark!

    For the record I tend towards a Barbour Border (or a Keela Munro [red to match my eyes] in more inclement circumstances – well ‘out of uniform’ anyway) and an Opinel No. 7 (Oh OK I ‘may’ own a Fairbairn-Sykes in amongst my few [dozen/hundred] other sharp objects collection – it’s traditional, you’re not really British unless you’ve accidentally stabbed yourself whilst trying the moves from ‘Get Tough’).

    So it’s more of ‘waxed jacket and penknife’ from now on if you don’t mind.

    Why you? Because you are one those rarest of people, someone who not only has (the vanishingly rare commodity) common-sense, but who is willing to both state a supported case (often very well researched too), debate, re-evaluate, persuade or change your opinion, …. all without getting (I believe the technical term is) ‘butt hurt’ about it.

    Like I say, a gem to be treasured (and occasionally annoyed – hey, I’m good at it, my one true talent). I’d propose to both you and Minta but I know you both have too much sense (the only ones who wouldn’t, I avoid assiduously – I refuse to join any club that would allow me to join as obviously a bad lot too).

    I’m not much of a one for most ‘non sci-fi’ fiction (escapism you know) but I can thoroughly recommend Mr. Pratchetts ‘Dodger’ – don’t judge me! 😉

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