Category Archives: Foreign Policy

Figuring out where we are

This post is going to be about how people view situations and where they get their information. In my blog post yesterday, which was about an American national security issue, I mentioned that I just recently moved from cable to streaming TV. My sister, who convinced me to try streaming, told me I would find news and other things to watch streaming that I don’t with my cable. I was thoroughly sick of the American news media and that includes liberal new media and FOX and right-wing news media. Along with the various big streaming services, she mentioned some free apps with news and other programming.

Last night I watched a Euro News broadcast. I found the coverage of the earthquake aftermath in Turkey and Syria very informative. I also watched an interview with the prime minister of Moldova, who explained the Russian efforts to destabilize her country. I hear a lot of Americans, who hold right-wing views, say things that sound like Russian propaganda and that worries me. I’ve heard this line about how “we shouldn’t poke the bear,” so many times that I automatically grit my teeth every time someone says that. While it’s true the West has expanded NATO and alliances close to Russia, at the same time Russia has been aggressively targeting its neighbors for years now, while America and our European allies paid mostly lip service to that aggression. Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.

While I don’t have a crystal ball, I feel we’re already on a path to a wider war, even though I still hope leaders can find ways to avoid that. I have believed for a few years now that China and Russia intend to challenge America’s global economic position and try to bump us to third place. I also, due to years of news reports on China and Russia, believe Russia wants to regain some of its territory from the Soviet era and that China is preparing for war. The news has reported on China’s activities in the South China Sea and toward Taiwan for years. What I wonder is how many Americans will just keep ranting about “don’t poke the bear” or “don’t mess with the dragon” and blame America for our adversaries aggression?

In WWII there were plenty of Americans who held this same attitude – until America was directly attacked. One thing I will say about aggression is appeasement and shows of weakness are actions. Every school yard bully knows how to read displays of weakness too and it does not deter a bully. In fact, usually it emboldens them.

I assume most Americans have no idea where Moldova is, but I won’t be surprised if Moldova is in the news more in the near future. Here’s a quote from that EuroNews interview with the prime minister of Moldova (the video is at the link):

“Russia is trying to destabilise Moldova by sponsoring protests and conducting cyber attacks, the country’s prime minister told Euronews on Tuesday.

“We are seeing elements of hybrid war. We are seeing, for example, pro-Russian forces trying to destabilise the country politically through paid protests which quickly subsided when the oligarchs that fled Moldova were put on the sanctions lists and their money flows were restricted,” Natalia Gavrilița said.

“We are seeing cyber attacks. We’ve had the biggest cyber attacks in 2022 in the history of our country, and we are seeing bomb threats.”https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2023/02/07/russia-conducting-hybrid-war-in-moldova-with-protests-and-cyber-attacks-prime-minister

Somewhere down the road, in years, I expect historians might look back at this time and instead of wondering about “poking the bear” or “messing with the dragon,” they might be wondering how devastatingly weak the US looked with that Afghanistan withdrawal debacle and an incident like failing to take down an unmanned Chinese spy balloon, as it floated over the American heartland and our most sensitive military sites for a week. They might ponder again, how provocative weakness really is to countries with territorial aspirations on their minds

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Up, up and away

I have more questions than answers on the reports of a suspected high-altitude Chines spy balloon floating over the continental US that’s been big news since yesterday..

First, I suspect the Biden administration and Pentagon wanted to get ahead of this story, because concerned citizens in Montana saw the balloon and there was no way to put a lid on this story. I am presuming that’s the only reason why they’ve made public statements.

My first thought was wondering if this was the first time Chinese spy balloons have floated over the US there would probably be more concern. So, today ABC reported this:

“The high-altitude reconnaissance balloon was not the first such craft to pass over the U.S. in this way, a senior defense official said in a briefing.

A separate senior official told ABC News the balloon is the size of three buses and complete with a technology bay, which the defense official said they “wouldn’t characterize” as “revolutionary.”

The defense official said they “are confident” the balloon was sent by China.

“Instances of this activity have been observed over the past several years, including prior to this administration,” the official said, noting that “it’s happened a handful of other times over the past few years … It is appearing to hang out for a longer period of time this time around.””

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/chinese-spy-balloon-surveilling-us-senior-official/story?id=96860718

Note the effort to deflect responsibility from the Biden administration by adding the phrase “including prior to this administration.” So, today, if this report is true, I learned Chinese spy balloons have flown over the continental US before “a handful of times” and our national defense people just observed that happening and didn’t inform the American people about it. With a lot of concerned citizens spotting this balloon and even photographing, it seems to me what the Biden administration is doing is trying to downplay the seriousness, telling Americans, there’s nothing to worry about and at the same time they’re making public statements about how tough they’re being with China… It feels to me they want to get past this story as quickly as possible.

Did the US raise concerns with China the “handful of other times over the past few years” this happened or did our government just sit back and observe?

So, I guess we’re just supposed to accept that Chinese spy balloons floating across America are no big deal, according to the Biden administration and the Pentagon and at the same time believe the Biden administration takes this matter very seriously, is carefully monitoring the balloon and is letting Beijing know this is unacceptable. Somehow, the two messaging tracts seems a bit discordant to me.

This Pentagon messaging game seems about as honest and transparent as their Afghanistan Withdrawal Debacle messaging.

We live in a surreal time.

————————————————————————————————————————

Okey dokey, here’s an update 10:16 pm, 2/3/2023: So, I just listened to this video of a CNN report from this morning – interviewing former Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper. The CNN reporter mentions this assertion that Chinese spy balloons flying over the US happened in the previous administration and Esper says he has no recollection of any such incident. At 6:37 in this video the question begins:

Here’s a 9:15 pm report from CBS:

“By Friday morning, the balloon was no longer over Montana but had moved over the Midwest and is now over “the middle of the country,” according to a U.S. official. A Chinese balloon has never been over the middle of the country before. The only other time a Chinese balloon has flown over the continental U.S. was during a brief overflight of Florida. There have been overflights of Hawaii and Guam. In previous instances, the Chinese have been able to recover the balloon. Although it can maneuver, it will still travel in the direction it is carried by the jet stream.”

As you can see the Biden administration narrative keeps shifting And as it shifts it reminds me of the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle where they kept trying to blame Trump for everything going wrong, while insisting there would be no evacuations from rooftops like the US evacuation from the US embassy in Saigon in 1975… until there was just such an evacuation from the US embassy in Kabul.

I am prepared for the Biden administration to keep saying there’s nothing to worry about with this Chinese provocation and then spending more time to figure out a new narrative for when they realize there was something to worry about. The Austin Pentagon willingly carried every single one of the Biden administration lies about the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle. The Chinese were in Kabul working with the Taliban to aid in creating chaos for the US withdrawal too. They already know the Biden administration will exhaust every opportunity to appease America’s enemies rather than take decisive action.

Biden and his advisers were part of the Obama administration who thanked Iran for taking such good care of the US sailors Iran captured during the Obama presidency and following that return of US sailors, Iran unleashed propaganda videos of US sailors on their knees, to humiliate America’s military. It’s important to remember exactly who these people are in the Biden administration:

All this focus on debris fields for why they can’t risk taking down this Chinese spy balloon are just excuses for not being willing to take action, I think. And each bit of information the Biden administration and the Pentagon release will likely shift the narrative, as their spin crumbles.

I expect more shows of weakness from the Biden administration and more narratives that crumble under scrutiny.

Appeasement always exacts a higher cost down the road.

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Ukraine and tanks

This is going to be a post on my views about the situation in Ukraine, since the news today is all about tanks being sent to Ukraine… tanks Ukraine’s military isn’t even trained to operate. I heard the Biden spokesman, Kirby, blabbering on this afternoon about how we’re going to have tank training teams and this was like echoes of the same claptrap we heard for 20 years about Afghan security forces, Iraqi security forces, and even training those imaginary “moderate” Syrian rebels” forces… It felt like he was reading the same old script.

First, I believe that pushing back against Russian and Chinese aggression is in America’s best interests, because allowing Russia and China to expand their influence, while we bury our heads in the sand by buying into hyped narratives about how we shouldn’t “poke the bear” or “mess with the dragon,” are really just appeasement. Appeasement sends the message of weakness and only invites more aggression.

That said, the approaches taken by European countries and the US thus far have not worked as expected and while Russia has aggressively worked to cut new energy deals around the world, Europeans and the US tried to have their cake and eat it too. They were still importing Russian oil and gas, while imposing more and more sanctions against Russia and telling us how evil Putin is. If he’s so evil, why weren’t they feverishly working to ramp up their own fossil fuel production, so they wouldn’t have to rely on Russian oil and gas?

On top of that insanity, at the same time the West was trying to have it both ways with buying Russian oil and gas, while imposing more and more sanctions against Russia and pouring more and more arms and money into Ukraine, the West decided to escalate their economic war against their own countries’ fossil fuel industries and citizens by running full steam ahead with their Great Reset effort.

None of this makes any strategic sense. Wars still require vast amounts of weapons, equipment… and fossil fuel. No military in the world runs on green energy. If you’re serious about supplying a war effort, you ramp up your own fossil fuel production; you don’t keep trying to import it from your adversary and decimate your own fossil fuel production capabilities.

The Biden team travelled around the world, hat in hand, begging despotic regimes for oil… They’d rather grovel to despots than do the sensible thing and unleash American fossil fuel production and ramp up green energy development. We should utilize every means of energy production that we can.

As far as what the actual end game strategy is in Ukraine, I don’t think any of the Western leaders have clearly articulated that and then had all of these other leaders agree on a strategy.

This isn’t about Republicans vs. Democrats, it’s about the reality of war, I think, and nothing I’ve seen thus far with how Western leaders have conducted this proxy war in Ukraine has made much sense.

I’d like to believe our leaders have learned something from the defeats of the GWOT strategy and regime change strategies we followed for 20 years, but it seems like no one has learned anything, except our adversaries…

The way I see it is either we really want Russia to be pushed back or we want to wage this crazy green energy war against fossil fuel and our own citizens, but trying to do both at the same time will be disastrous.

Update 1/28/2023: I was thinking about the endless string of failures in US strategy since 9/11 and the string of military misadventures, that were just memory-holed, as the strategic DC brain trust came up with one bad idea after another and faced no accountability for their previous failures. Here’s a short excerpt from a 2015 blog post I wrote:

” In 2014 Jamal Maaroof was touted:  “Meet Jamal Maarouf, the West’s best fighting chance against Syria’s Islamist armies”.  After receiving US training and weapons, to include TOW anti-tank missiles, Maaroof struck a peace deal with ISIS.”

The first link is the media hyping the latest strategic “big idea” in 2015 – arming “moderate” Syrian rebels to help in the fight against ISIS. So, the US Army embarked on supposedly vetting Syrian rebel groups and finding “moderates” (here’s a clue in a Sunni insurgency there aren’t any moderates) to train. This rebel leader, Maaroof and his rebel band were trained and armed by the US Army with TOW anti-tank missiles and as soon as they returned to the battlefield in Syria, they struck a peace deal with ISIS. Some groups that the US armed handed their US weapons over to ISIS or united with ISIS fighters. So much for vetting these groups. The same people – politicians, retired top brass and military experts, who hit the media and sold all these bad ideas, are still hard at selling this proxy war in Ukraine, which they’re not prepared to really fight. The Biden administration and European leaders, I think, are more committed to their Great Reset, which will cause endless suffering and mayhem on their own citizens, not defeat Russia in Ukraine.

Pushing back on Russian aggression is in American and European strategic interests, but doing it in such a half-assed way has already shown Russia (and America’s other adversaries) again, that we’re not really serious and time is on their side. It doesn’t matter if it’s an R or a D after the name of the President, because both sides are fully-invested in this corrupt military-industrial game and this mess is going to drag on and on, with the potential to escalate bubbling right below the surface.

Trying to work out some sort of ceasefire and deal between Ukraine and Russia would be the least bad option, I think, since the US and the Europeans can’t seem to agree on much of anything and have been dragging their feet on getting arms to Ukraine all along, despite the lip service that they’re sending more. Even this tank announcement was followed by :

Despite President Biden’s promise to send 31 Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine on Wednesday, it could take months for the artillery to arrive, according to reports.

The New York Post reported that Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh confirmed that the U.S. does not have enough of M1 Abrams tanks in its stockpile to send over to Ukraine at this time.”

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/bidens-promise-send-tanks-delayed-lack-inventory-reports

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Signals, noise and mixed messages

This post is going to be about our modern news media ecosystem and the Ukraine war. First point I’d like to make is it’s very hard to discern the signals from the noise. The signals are the meaningful information, while the noise just makes it harder to detect the signals. Our partisan spin information war now fills the American news media space with so much noise that important signals often get drowned out or buried completely, regardless what news media format you’re consuming. Even print media often doesn’t provide the most basic information about images or events in their copy and lots of times the important details are buried way down in the story.

It’s become commonplace to see photos and videos circulate on the internet that don’t include any information about when and where it was shot, who took the photo or video, who the people are in the images and a clear explanation of what the image shows. Often images are selectively edited or altered, which leads to further confusion. Many people, without any hesitation, share images and videos they `they know nothing about and they buy into them completely.

Both Russia and Ukraine have waged massive propaganda efforts, since Russia invaded Ukraine. Unfortunately, so many American political leaders, former government officials, to include former intel and defense officials, and many, many “experts” on foreign policy from academia now live online. Our news media people live online too. They also leap to share information they have no idea where it came from or if it’s true. The human race wasn’t ready for social media, I think.

I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but again Twitter is the main online social media space where they congregate and unfortunately that’s where most of them get their “information.” The problem with this rapid tweeting and retweeting behavior is the signals usually get missed, while the tweet noise floods the zone. The rest of America, who isn’t following the Twitter politics crowd ends up with the “news” that’s spun out from the partisan spin battles on Twitter to other news media in America.

Most Americans aren’t on Twitter and even if they went on Twitter it’s doubtful they’d see what I’m talking about. I didn’t understand Twitter’s role in the American spin information war at first either, but then I decided to follow hundreds of politicians, journalists and news organizations to see what would show up in my feed. Then I spent a lot of hours watching the Twitter interactions and learning how the partisan talking points generated and that opened my eyes to how the corrupt Dem spin information war, that I’d been trying to understand since the 90s, was operating in the Twitter age.

Trump learned how to fight spin battles on Twitter too and there’s now a dedicated Trumpian right-wing spin effort too, plus some assorted other right-wing media spin efforts. I can go on Twitter and sit for about 15 minutes scrolling my feed filled with journos and politicians and see spin cycles form in real time. It happened by accident, not by design, because I was just wondering why the cable news had begun mentioning Twitter and tweets so much.

One important point about the American spin information war is we don’t live in a vacuum, so foreign operatives are involved in trying to influence the American news too and the Russians have always been aggressive about those efforts, going back through most of the last century.

Russia was struggling to counter the Ukrainian propaganda war and the one place in America where Russian propaganda gains traction these days, bizarrely is within the right-wing media space, where due to the binary-thinking, many Americans will be for or against something based on if the “other side” is for it, they are automatically against it. Dems and Hollywood rushed to wrap themselves in Ukrainian flags and worship Zelensky, so many on the right automatically took the opposing view.

Anyway, back to the signals and noise in regards to the Ukraine war, both Ukraine and Russia are running massive propaganda wars, so getting accurate information about the facts on the ground is difficult. Added onto this is Hollywood and Democrats rushed to aid Zelensky’s propaganda war and Zelensky reminds me of Donald Trump in some ways. He’s a former actor and knows how to stage himself effectively, just like Trump’s a master of owning the stage. Trump could upstage any world event. Zelensky has been packaged and sold by Democrats and the vast liberal media space as the infallible hero and too many Americans are invested in Ukraine without any serious thought to American national interests.

There are important reasons for America and Europe to thwart Putin’s naked aggression, but at the same time it’s important to carefully keep sight of American national interests in how we do that.

The worst thing Biden and many European leaders have done is talk big, then drag their feet on aiding Ukraine, while mewling to Putin, trying to coax him to keep the oil and gas flowing. They imposed punishing sanctions on Russia, to include on buying Russian oil. Then they continued to buy Russian oil. What kind of message did that send Putin? If you want to be taken seriously, you need to put your money where your mouth is. Biden and many of the European leaders have talked out of both sides of their mouth.

And worst of all, if you truly feel stopping Putin’s aggression is a grave threat to stability in Europe and that weakness at this critical juncture would embolden, not just Putin, but China too, then it makes no sense to try to embark on some cockamamie green-energy transformation. The Ukraine-Russia conflict has led to a full-blown economic war, but the US and Europeans weren’t as serious as Putin has been. If you were serious about stopping Putin, you’d be ramping up American fossil fuel production and the Europeans would be postponing their Great Reset to fight the Ukraine War, which they blabber on is the greatest threat since WWII. They would not be buying a drop of Russian oil, and they’d be working overtime trying to carefully assess what arms to send to Ukraine, while trying to speed up resupply of their own military stockpiles. Instead, they were just trying to kick the can down the road, hoping Putin would back down, so they could focus on their Great Reset and green-energy transformation. Their priority wasn’t stopping Putin – it was the Great Reset.

The Biden administration is most concerned about all its liberal pet projects – green-energy, racial politics, gender politics and most of all defeating and crushing Republicans. I haven’t seen any real seriousness in how the Biden administration has gone about helping Ukraine or really wanting to stop Putin’s aggression. Now that things have spiraled into a huge mess, Biden isn’t out there giving any calm. clear articulation of what the goals are, what’s at stake, or why the US should care about the war in Ukraine. Instead, he was rambling on at a Dem fundraiser about Armageddon and Putin – just like he tried to blame his own war on American fossil fuel as being Putin’s fault. He was concerned about defeating Republicans – not about convincing Putin to withdraw from Ukraine.

The Biden administration has offered no clear and consistent statements on Ukraine, that it followed with actions that bolstered those words. It was all big talk, then still buying Russian oil, while the Germans and French kept going on bended knee to the Russians, begging them not to turn off the Russian oil and gas spigots. The US/European effort to aid Ukraine has been a hodgepodge, convoluted mess with a lot of foot-dragging and lack of coordination between Western leaders and a lack of coordination with Ukrainian leaders. I believe the Obama foreign policy people are running this sideshow, because it has all the earmarks of their incompetent and clueless stumbling and bumbling, followed by overreactions that were the Obama foreign adventures.

I have no idea how things will turn out, but I feel certain that if the US and West cave on Ukraine, China will be on the move very quickly. A lot of Americans, especially on the right, have become isolationist after all the military adventurism in the past two decades and they don’t want to hear about sending US troops anywhere. I understand that, but the reality is Reagan was right: “We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”

America is still a force for good. If we decide to pick up our toys and go home, saying it’s not our problem or we don’t want to be the world’s policeman, that won’t keep us safe. Russia, China and other malignant actors in the world would quickly move to fill the void left by a US retreat from the world.

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Putin isn’t a victim in Ukraine

Well, the situation in the Ukraine war is still volatile and a lot of right-wing media in America keep selling the idea that NATO is somehow responsible for “poking the bear” and absolving Putin of blame for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Other former Soviet countries that sit on Russia’s border became NATO members and Russia didn’t invade them or launch a full-scale invasion into them and somehow the same Americans who spout this “poking the bear” idea that Russia sells, don’t mention that.

Of course, the Obama administration meddled in Ukraine extensively and clumsily interfered in internal Ukrainian politics. I disagreed, in principle with most, and in execution of all of the Obama foreign policy efforts in Ukraine. However, it wasn’t only the West that was on the move in Ukraine. Russia was aggressively on the move and all of Russia’s actions weren’t just because the US was “poking the bear.” Russia has continually interfered in internal Ukraine politics too. Several former Eastern bloc countries wanted to become members of NATO, fearing Russian aggression, and many of them have a history of Soviet Russia rolling over their countries and forcing them under Soviet control. Russia doesn’t have any inherent right to rebuild the Soviet Union or to seize parts of neighboring countries.

Why so many Americans buy into this overly simplistic Russian apologist “poking the bear” point of view in regards to Ukraine, I think is mainly because it became a right-wing media talking point to criticize the Obama administration’s foreign policy. How right-wing America became Putin apologists due to the American spin war still amazes me at times.

Putin has had aspirations of rebuilding some of the former Soviet Union and returning Russia to being a world superpower. Ukraine is economically and strategically vital to Russia, with a massive gas pipeline system, but Russia also depends on the naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea for its only warm water port, with access to the Black Sea. Russia and Ukraine both depend on those economic ties and Russia won’t willingly give up access to that strategically vital port. Things in Ukraine-Russia relations are a bit more complicated than just trying to blame the US for Putin deciding to launch a full-scale invasion.

It’s a bit disconcerting to watch the American right become Putin apologists and to act like Russia is a victim all the time. A full-scale invasion of a country, that was intended to quickly decapitate the Ukrainian government in Kiev, before the West could organize and muster a response, wasn’t a “poor Russia was defending its interests” move – it was a bold, act of aggression intended to take over Ukraine.

Buying into these simplistic talking points like “the US was poking the bear,” to excuse Putin’s naked aggression, completely ignores Putin’s repeated opining about the collapse of the Soviet Union being the greatest geopolitical catastrophe and his desire to regain both Soviet glory and territory and to reestablish Russia’s world superpower position in the world.

One other point, I’d like to make is that if the US and Western European countries had not been exerting western influence in Ukraine, just like other parts of the former Soviet bloc, that doesn’t mean Putin wouldn’t have acted aggressively and it’s a ludicrous position based on Russian history and Putin’s stated objectives. If the US and West hadn’t been “poking the bear,” Putin would have acted more aggressively sooner in Ukraine. Russia was interfering in internal Ukrainian affairs too and wanted a puppet government in Kiev, willing to take direction from the Kremlin. Appeasement of Russia for fear of “poking the bear would have led Russia to feel more emboldened. Putin saw the Biden Afghanistan withdrawal debacle and American civil divides and didn’t expect America and Europe to unite quickly and respond in Ukraine.

If the US and West had failed to unify and aid Ukraine the world situation would likely be even worse, not all rainbows and unicorns. Russia and China were plotting an aggressive economic war against the US and West before Russia invaded Ukraine. I feel certain that if Russia had met little resistance in Ukraine, China would have read that as a green light to make bold military moves already.

We might be heading into a larger, serious global conflict, but to assume it’s all the US’s fault for “poking the bear” is ludicrous. Russia and China want to dominate the world economy and diminish (demolish) the US’s predominant role in the world. If America just retreats, that won’t leave us or the world safer and it certainly won’t stop Russian and Chinese aggression, let alone impede other bad actors in the world.

Weakness is provocative.

Update: For all the Americans who want to buy into the US is the aggressor against poor Putin by meddling in Ukraine, I want to point out both Russia and China are aggressively at work trying to foment chaos in our hemisphere too and would that not be “poking the US?”. Russia and China have been expanding their economic and military reach in our backyard since post-WWII. They’re very active militarily and economically in South America, Central America, in the Caribbean and even exerting influence in Mexico. I am sick to death with how idiotic and historically clueless the right-wing pundit class has become and sadly millions of right-wing Americans buy into all of this crapola every single day. They hate Biden so much, that they’ll make excuses for Putin and buy into acting like Putin is a victim.

What on earth happened to the party of Ronald Reagan?

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A few Nord Stream facts

I keep hearing this Nord Stream talking point, “Why would Russia blow up their own pipeline?” This generated in the American right-wing media ecosystem very quickly, so let’s get some facts straight – Nord Stream 1 & 2 aren’t only “Russian” pipelines – they’re JOINT ventures with Russian Gazprom paying half the cost of construction and a group of western companies paying half:

“Gazprom paid half the cost of building Nord Stream 2, with the remainder of the $11 billion pipeline project financed by British oil and gas major Shell (SHEL.L), Austria’s OMV (OMVV.VI), France’s Engie and Germany’s Uniper (UN01.DE) and Wintershall DEA (WINT.UL).” Source: Reuters article from March 2022.

The Europeans have been trying to keep Russia pumping gas, because especially the Germans are very dependent on that Russian gas. First there were reports that Nord Stream 1 was shut down due to needing repairs back in July and Canada sent the repaired turbine to Germany for that repair.

By August Russia said they couldn’t do the repairs on Nord Stream 1

By September: Russia cuts off gas exports to Europe via Nord Stream indefinitely

Nord Stream 2 wasn’t even operational yet.

“The construction of the pipeline started in 2011, to expand the Nord Stream line and double annual capacity to 110 billion cubic metres (3.9 trillion cubic feet). It was completed in September 2021, but has not yet entered service.” Source: Wikipedia

Russia has a massive gas pipeline project with China, that when completed will reach all the way to Shanghai.

Russia has other lucrative gas and oil deals with numerous countries and is the largest oil exporter in the world and will surely find new markets, while the Europeans are scrambling to find oil and gas to get through this winter. Even the US was importing Russian oil.

So, let’s look at this idea of “Why would Russia blow up their own pipeline?” Well, Russia was putting the screws to the Europeans, especially the Germans, trying to pressure them to back down on supporting Ukraine. The Europeans and US and Canada held their alliance together with supporting Ukraine and escalated the sanctions against Russia. Russia refused to get Nord Stream 1 operational and stopped pumping gas, then issued more threats and even threatened nuclear war, while the Germans were still trying to get Russia to resume shipping gas and scrambling to try to find other sources around the world. Russia exerted its influence with OPEC, so when Biden went to Saudi Arabia, begging for more oil, he was rebuffed.

Russia expanded their market in India by offering huge discounts. Here’s a September 2022 article: Russia is now offering even more discounts to India on oil

Why would the US or Europeans blow up Nord Stream 1, which will devastate western companies, while Gazprom has expanding markets?

Russia had already cut its losses on Nord Stream and can survive without Nord Stream, while the Europeans and US are scrounging around for oil and gas. Of course, in the US the oil and gas shortages are completely due to the Biden administration’s decision to kill the American oil and gas industry with their crazy green energy plan, but still what would the US gain by blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines, which Russia had already written off and was using to try to blackmail the Germans to abandon Ukraine? Russia would gain a lot by giving the Germans and Europeans the middle finger by blowing that up and threatening nuclear war. It would show the Western alliance that Russia won’t hesitate to use more force. At the same time the Nord Stream explosions occurred, Putin announced Russia was annexing parts of Ukraine.

I can’t say 100% who sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines, but I can say there’s a lot of evidence that Russia had plenty of motivations to give a big middle finger to European leaders and to let them know that if they continue aiding Ukraine, Russia will retaliate forcefully.

So many right-wing Americans blame the US for Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, while absolving Putin of any blame. I disagreed with US policy decisions in Ukraine during the Obama administration and I disagree with a lot of decisions the Biden administration has made before and since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year. However, Russia also has escalated this war and Russia is the one threatening nuclear war. Putin is not some victim in this war and Russia had no legitimate right to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Part of why so many Americans rushed to buy into blaming the US for the Nord Stream explosions I blame on the Democrats and their corrupt “Trump/Russia Collusion” smear campaign, which was total bs. That years-long Democrat smear effort led many Americans on the right to just discount Russian disinformation as being a real thing. I blame Trump too, because at times he talked like Putin was a great guy.

And here’s the beauty of the useful idiots in the US carrying water for Russian propaganda- they hate Biden so much that they will make excuses for Putin these days. Tucker Carlson rushed to carry that water a few days ago. Carlson also frequently casts Putin as a good guy. Lots of other ordinary people on social media have too. I watched a prepper video recently by a hard-working, decent American guy, who hates Biden and the left’s radical agenda a lot, which I understand completely. He was quoting RT – Russia Today as his source and I was wondering how Americans could be so willing to buy into Russian propaganda.

Here’s the thing about Putin – he hates America and the West (that includes right-wing Americans too) and he’s still very much the KGB agent. Despite the Democrats calling everything on the right in America “Russian disinformation,” the reality is actual Russian disinformation still exists and unfortunately now right-wingers in America, who used to understand the Russian threat, are walking around citing RT and talking about how Putin isn’t such a bad guy. Our own domestic spin war has led so many Americans to distrust our own government and each other more than they distrust Putin, who wants to destroy the West and rebuild the former Soviet Union. And, I suppose many Americans no longer remember the Cold War or understand that history.

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Nord Stream pipeline leaks whodunit

Here’s a link to a CNBC report on the Nord Stream pipelines: Russian pipeline leaks spark climate fears as huge volumes of methane spew into the atmosphere

Here’s a link to a Wall Street Journal article about NATO formally blaming sabotage for the leaks: NATO Formally Blames Sabotage for Nord Stream Pipeline Damage

Here’s a Reuters piece: Putin accuses West of blowing up pipelines as Europe steps up vigilance

Here’s a Washington Examiner piece: Russian ships observed near area of explosions that caused Nord Stream pipeline leaks: Report

Tucker Carlson, the most watched primetime FOX pundit was quick to blame the US for the Nord Stream pipeline leak. He has been against the US and Europeans aiding Ukraine all along. Among right-wing media, this buzz gained traction with the line “Why would the Russians blow up their own pipeline when they could just shut off the gas? This seems like a stupid argument to me. Somehow, these right-wing hot takes that “only this argument makes sense” with no real information seems to be the default right-wing media ecosystem these days.

John Brennan, the former Obama CIA director, rushed to blame Putin.

Here’s the thing, I have no way of knowing for sure, but I will say the argument Tucker Carlson made, rushing to point the finger at the US seems reckless and designed to foment more divides in America and was intended to turn Americans on the right against the US government and against aiding Ukraine. To state that the US or Europeans sabotaging that pipeline is the only possible explanation, with no real evidence, is as reckless as Brennan rushing to blame Putin.

Russia is currently not shipping more gas via that pipeline, but Russia knew there was still gas in that pipeline that will now not be delivered to Europe with winter approaching, is my understanding at this point. I could be wrong. And at the same time Russia was trying to annex parts of Ukraine this week. Russia is not above trying to fuel divides in America over support for Ukraine and certainly not above staging elaborate false flag operations. Russia also is not against sending stronger messages to US and European leaders, that Russia will not hesitate to escalate the economic war.

The gas that was still in the pipeline should be gone by Sunday according to the Reuters article: “Gas will continue to pour out of Nord Stream 1 until Sunday, the Danish energy agency said on Friday, though the leak on Nord Stream 2 is expected to cease on Saturday.” Russia had already shut off the gas – that’s the key part and a short-lived leak, that sent a strong message to the Europeans that Russia won’t be sending more gas, while at the same time blaming the US and the West for the leaks doesn’t seem beyond Putin to me.

I distrust the Biden administration and I certainly distrust John Brennan, but at the same time, Putin has shown himself to be ruthless and there’s a long, long history of Russian false flag operations against the West.

At this point, I’m just waiting to see what happens next.

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Mark Levin explains the growing threat of China

After all the Afghanistan/Iraq military actions for decades, many Americans are understandably tired of sending US troops to foreign countries. However, isolationism isn’t an option in a world with adversaries intent on destroying America in any way they can. It’s not just the left in American that’s pacifist and isolationist now. There’s a loud segment of the “America First,” Trump-right, that keeps bellowing about isolationism too. Mark Levin does a very good job here, explaining why paying attention to China’s military and economic expansion and being militarily prepared to defend America and American interests is important:

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Trump’s take on Pelosi’s trip

Here’s my quote tweet from this morning:

Trump chose the easy name-calling route here, as usual. He’s bashing Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan in this video, as if her trip was the problem, because nothing gets the right fuming like mentioning Nancy Pelosi, except perhaps mentioning Hillary Clinton. Whenever I even hear either of them speaking, I automatically cringe. However, American domestic, partisan politics is different than American foreign policy. Trump can’t see beyond the domestic spin sideshow – ever.

Many Americans are worried about the potential for major wars starting and the fear of WWIII features heavily in a lot of commentary on the left and right in America. China may actually invade Taiwan, but if that happens it won’t be because Pelosi went to Taiwan. It will be because China has planned to do that for years and believes the US and West won’t respond. The only way to push back against Russian and Chinese aggression is to work to unite Americans around the belief in freedom and support freedom around the world.

Every time American leaders show fear, buy into our foreign adversaries narratives about events, and most of all escalate the partisan divides here at home, we’re helping our enemies. American weakness on the world stage is seen as a green light by Russia and China to push further. Trump bought into China’s framing of the situation and said Pelosi gave China an excuse. That’s a very misguided view, I think. Pelosi did not cause China’s actions – China did.

I know plenty of people on the right who loathe Pelosi (I react negatively to her scorched earth politics), but stepping back from our domestic politics, when it comes to the world stage it’s not red or blue America – it’s just AMERICA and China wants America cowering and backing down. If even the right in America is now backing down from America’s adversaries, who is left to stand up for freedom in the world?

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Past is prologue: Obama’s foreign policy is calling…

This post is going to be more about the Pelosi trip to Taiwan. China ratcheted up the saber-rattling and today China cut off talks with the US on climate and military matters: China halts climate and military dialogue with the U.S. over Pelosi’s Taiwan visit. China wants to make the Biden administration look weak and impotent (and is succeeding).

John Kerry, former Obama Secretary of State and current Biden administration climate special envoy, was on Twitter appealing to China a few hours ago.

China knows full well what a cowardly, groveling bunch this Biden White House is, because they and all of America’s adversaries watched eight years of this during the Obama administration. John Kerry, as Secretary of State, was willing to grovel to Iran in 2016, when Iran captured US sailors. At that time, the Obama administration wanted to make the Iran nuclear deal work – no matter what. Kerry worked out the release of the captured US sailors and hailed it as a new era of diplomacy. And immediately following that Iran released demoralizing videos of US sailors and propaganda to make our American sailors look weak and like crybabies. It was totally disgraceful:

Rather than speak out and support Pelosi’s trip and stand up to China, the Biden administration continued to waffle today and China is playing this for all it’s worth. Kerry will likely sell American dignity and our country down the river again, to try to salvage the climate deal with China – no matter what. And just like with Iran, who never abided by any of the agreements on nuclear issues, China has no intention of abiding by the West’s green energy deals.

Russia, China and our adversaries will continue to bolster their fossil fuel capacities while the US and West rush down this green-energy transformation yellow brick road. Here are some links on China’s energy plans:

China sees biggest growth in energy and coal use since 2011

China continues to snap up Russian coal at steep discounts

This map shows the massive gas pipeline that Russia and China are building

China pays lip service to green energy goals, but China is the world’s biggest polluter Here’s a stat from an article, Most polluted countries in the world: 2022 ranking:

  1. China with 9.9 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions, largely due to the export of consumer goods and its heavy reliance on coal;
  2. The United States with 4.4 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted;
  3. India with 2.3 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted.

 I expect John Kerry to sell America down the river again and grovel to China. Pathetic!

8/6/2022 – Afterthought: China is unhappy with increased aid being considered in Congress: Senators slated to take up bill to expand security support to Taiwan amid high-stakes Pelosi visit. My guess is I think China also hopes that their escalated big drama they’re enacting will pressure either the Biden WH to apologize to China for Pelosi visiting Taiwan or that Pelosi will apologize for visiting Taiwan. Either of these actions would signal an American abandonment of Taiwan and send a powerful signal to every other country in that region that America does not have their back.

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