Friday, August 1, 2014

Fire on the Mountain, Run Boys Run

The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Or maybe the Ukraine.

I am worried.  Really worried.  Here is what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff just said:

“If I have a fear about this,” General Dempsey told the Aspen Security Forum over the weekend, “it’s that Putin may actually light a fire that he loses control of.”  

            I agree – this is a dangerous situation -- but for a different reason.  WE lit the fire and are stoking it. 

            Putin is a KGB thug. I wish him a short life and unhappy death.  But he did not create this crisis.  We did – over loans the Ukraine could not repay to Western banks. We engineered a removal of an elected president by a mob, and arranged to pay the bankers with money borrowed from the US and European governments. And in the process laid the groundwork for replacing Russian gas with US oil making some US companies very happy. AND we talked about pulling Ukraine into NATO, after we promised we would not, back when the USSR broke up.

Putin has not talked about marching into Europe or reestablishing the Soviet Union.  That has come from our officials, speculating about what he “might” do. 

Putin took the Crimea without a shot and from people who wanted to be incorporated. He secured the bases RUSSIA BUILT, and the ships RUSSIA PAID FOR.  The big mistake here was the US Dept of State (and western bankers) thinking Russia was too weak to respond.   Of course they did – we threatened a vital interest.

Our media reports Russia is firing artillery into the Ukraine.  If true, that means at targets 20 MILES FROM THEIR BORDER. Meanwhile, NATO  is talking about operations in the Ukraine, 700 miles from the old NATO borders. And about 5,000 miles from Washington, DC. Who sounds like the aggressor?

Two months ago the Ukrainian army could not find its helmet and both boots.  Now it is conducting a double envelopment of two Separatist cities by well supplied mechanized forces. The Ukrainian air force, which could not land in a cross wind, is providing precision close air support.  And the US CJCS is saying “an ‘active process’ is underway to determine what help the US could provide Ukraine.”  (See Dempsey link above.)

Last time we saw something like this it was in Croatia and coordinated by retired US military advisers, contracted by the US from MPRI  (a DC based body shop for military retires). When the going got tough later in Kosovo, the US effort was backed up by strikes from the USAF – all coordinated by former NATO Commander, US General Wesley Clark.

I suspect something similar is happening in the Ukraine.  Right on the Russian border.  Closer than the 90 miles that drove JFK to risk nuclear war in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Oh yes – and the Dept of State is openly speculating that new sanctions might push the Russian rich guys to oust Putin – something Dick Cheney used to call regime change.  Wonder how Putin will react to that?

Again, I a no fan of Putin, and no supporter of Russia in world affairs.  But the first question any strategist should ask is, “If I pursue my current strategy, what will happen next?”

What do you think will happen if we back Putin and Russia into a corner, ultimately placing NATO troops right on their border, astride the invasion route the Nazis took on the way to Mother Russia?

Yeah -- somebody has definitely lit a fire that might burn out of control.  But I don’t think the arsonist was Vladimir Putin.

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