Friday, 30 June 2017

P and A: a cautionary tale

Let me tell you a story.

Our hero is a certain man, we'll call him Mr P, who lives in a large house with a front garden and a gate. Some way down the lane there lives a Mr A, who is a known Mafia criminal with a history of violent crime. Mr A has paid off the police chief, so there is no point complaining to the law about Mr A's crimes. He owns the law.

Now, Mr A covets Mr P's nice house and garden. He doesn't need either, but he covets them. Also, the fact that Mr P doesn't obey his every whim, like everyone else on the street, rankles with Mr A. And Mr P is not unaware of any of this.

One of the reasons that Mr A can get away with his crimes is that he has a gun. It is a big gun, a machine gun of 14.7mm calibre, and just about everyone else on the street is either unarmed or has only muzzle loaders. The only exception is Mr P, who happens to own a machine gun himself. Not as big as that owned by Mr A, 12.7mm rather than 14.7, but not far behind.

Now one day Mr A comes out of his house carrying his machine gun, comes up the lane, and uses it to shoot the lock off Mr P's gate. Mr P, watching from his window, does nothing. Mr A, seeing that his actions have brought no punishment, walks into the garden, trampling over Mr P's flower beds, and shoots Mr P's pet rabbits. Mr P still watches, doing nothing.

Then Mr A begins hammering on Mr P's front door, to which Mr P's response is to....pull down the shutters on his windows and shout that Mr A's activities are unacceptable and an affront to society.

What would you think of Mr P, here? Would you commend his restraint in not starting a gunfight that would shoot up the street? When Mr A breaks into his living room, isn't Mr P going to have to start that gunfight if he isn't to be robbed of hearth and home?

And what if, as soon as Mr A had emerged on to the lane, Mr P had come out of his house with his machine gun, leaned casually on his gate, and pointed the gun in A's general direction? Would or would not have A got the message?



 Obviously, Mr P is Vladimir Putin, and Mr A know who.

The biggest problem with Putin in foreign policy is that he's reactive, not proactive. He gets the blame anyway and the sanctions, so it's become self defeating to let the west make the first move and then do damage control. But he still does that, six years after Libya, nine years after Georgia.

Look at Libya. In 2011 Russia could have legitimately come to the aid of Gaddafi, and easily defeated the NATO-sponsored terrorists. It would have achieved these things:

1. Put the US on notice that creative interpretations of UNSC resolutions for illegal regime change wars is unacceptable.

2. Cut off the flow of weapons via Clinton's rat line to jihadis in Syria, which in turn would have dramatically shortened the war there and also put America on notice that intervention there would not be tolerated.

3. Also laid down an unspoken but real red line over further meddling in Russia's allied countries, like Ukraine, and then any attempt by Nuland's Nazis to carry out the Maidan coup would have been far more circumspect.

Even supposing Putin let that chance slip for some unknown compulsion, he had a second chance in Kiev.

In 2014 Russia could have taken over Ukraine, rescued the country from Nazis, and would only have at most got the same sanctions as now. Instead Poroshenko has American troops training his Nazis, is planning an invasion of the Donbass, and there is far more chance of a major war now than if Russia had sent in troops to restore Yanukovych. After all Yanukovych never resigned and America is backing the Saudi Barbarian invasion of Yemen to restore Hadi, who most certainly did resign. And Russia is fighting a war in Syria that is far more complex and fraught with danger than the one in Libya, and this war need never have been fought.

Now what happens when (more when than if) the Ukranazi coup regime invades Donbass in force? Russia has been repeatedly blamed for "invasions" of Ukraine that never happened, so what does it do if the coup regime, with its American trainers and "advisors", threatens to roll over Novorossiya? Will Putin sit idle and let the Ukranazi junta win? If he does, he'll be signing his own political death warrant, not to speak of the literal death warrant of the people of the Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics. So he will have to intervene, again being forced into a war that need never have happened if he had taken more limited action earlier.

Contrast Xi Jinping. China is following an aggressively proactive policy of trade deals, forging close relationships with every country possible, and at the same time is bolstering its military to the extent that it is immune from military aggression (no matter what Trump might pretend). If America wants to take on China it will be on ground of China's choosing. That's the exact opposite of Russia.

And that is why Putin needs to stop accommodating his "Western partners" and safeguard Russia's well being. Because whatever he's doing now isn't working.

Mr P may be waiting for Mr A to drop dead of a heart attack, but it'll probably be too long a wait.


  1. I am not a keen observer of international relations. But I want to ask a question. Why is he being reactive than being proactive. Is there any agenda behind it. I am completely illiterate regarding international policies.

  2. For starters, read about a war called the Yom Kippur war by the West, and the October War or the Ramadan War by the Arabs, fought in October, '73 on Al Jazeera. (

    To ensure that they had the best negotiating position, after a ceasefire was declared, the Israelis kept violating it until they reached the suburbs of Cairo and Damascus. The USSR threatened to intervene, and Kissinger ordered the US to go on full nuclear alert, get all missiles ready to launch, and the Soviets backed down.

    Only Americans know that the legal definition of a free, democratic country is a country whose head of state has the full approval of the president of the US, e.g. Saudi Arabia. A brutal dictatorship is any nation whose head of state has the disapproval of the president of the US.

    The whole world knows that the USSR collapsed between '89 and '91, and Yeltsin let the collapse of Russia continue until '99. Putin found a wreck, the Soviet military was gone, the Soviet industrial production was gone, the people were starving, and he began rebuilding from almost nothing. When the US moved, he shrank back. He didn't know what worked (not much) and what didn't, and he kept his head down, as China had done since the end of the Korean War. Think of having an old, rusty machine gun, and finding your predecessor had misplaced all the bullets, so, with the windows down, you're cleaning and oiling and looking everywhere for your bullets and armour.

    It was about 3 years ago that China looked around, and saw that they were no longer the world's poorest country, with a military that was able to fight to a draw with the US by having more soldiers than the US had bullets (and a Soviet nuclear umbrella that convinced Truman to prohibit the use of nukes when there was a possibility of retaliation).

    So China announced the 9-dash line, and the US has blustered a LOT, but done nothing to provoke the Chinese.

    In '13, Obama ordered the US military to get ready for a 'no-fly zone' of the 'we came, we saw, he died' kind for Syria. Then the UK Parliament voted 'NO!!!', and Obama couldn't ignore the UK Parliament the way he did the Colonial Congress, so he backed down.

    And then Putin stepped in.

    Putin has said he will not allow regime change in Syria. Candidate Trump promised peace with Syria and Russia, but President Trump gets cheers when he said, now that he's been told that the evil Syrian regime is letting the Russians squat on some military bases that rightfully belong to NATO, regime change in Syria must take place very soon, and if Putin tries to stop it, there must also be regime change in Russia.

    Putin threatened a Russian no-fly zone, but as the US and Israel have bombed the Syrians several times since Putin threatened, he hasn’t done anything.

    The war for Syrian regime change has just been announced by the US, to start very soon (as soon as the rat line can provide the peaceful, pro-democracy activists with the sarin they so desperately need to bring peace, prosperity, and democracy to Syria).


  3. I tried to post and got an error message in Russian. I thought it said something about no html, so I took out the link to Al Jazeera, but that didn't help. So I had to use Translate, and it said there's a 4,000 character limit on comments. So I cut the length and put the link back in.


  4. More follow up. I kept looking for Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books. Silly me. The New Yorker had him as a regular contributor as long as he wrote articles critical of Nixon, Bush, sr, and Bush, jr. But they would not run any articles critical of Obama, so he had to find a new publisher. Then the London Review of Books learned it could have its editorial direction refocussed if it published any more articles by Hersh. So now he's writing for Welt.

    Hersh is among the very best investigative reporters in the world. Not that 'best' is a very high standard these days.



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