Sunday, December 19, 2021

Somebody tell Putin to FOAD

 Started this on Thursday, had no energy nor ambition as we have had no sunshine for over 6 weeks. Also more stuff was coming down the pike and all I wanted to write was obscenities. 

Russia has been piling troops and tanks along the Ukrainian border since last spring and has been adding to them to the point that it looks like war. All Putin needs now is an excuse. Even if he has to dress Russian prisoners as Ukrainian soldiers and stage his own. USA, EU, and NATO have recognized the risk. Since Ukraine is not a NATO member, they cannot commit troops but they have warned Russia that they will come down much harder with economic sanctions than they have, including kicking Russia off SWIFT which hamstrings their ability to trade. Russia has developed its own version of SWIFT for just such an occasion but only 16 countries have signed onto it, including Belarus just recently.

Putin has now drafted two legal documents, one to be signed by NATO and one by USA, that essentially pulls NATO back to pre 1997 borders and leaves the former Warsaw Pact countries of Central and Eastern Europe (as well as Central Asia) defenseless and at the mercy of Russia, i.e. Yalta 2.0. At Yalta 1.0, Stalin promised Churchill and Roosevelt that these countries would remain independent and free to chose their own governments and future. We know have that worked out. America, NATO, and Ukraine responded that ain't going to happen and if Russia escalated its invasion of Ukraine (they invaded in 2014) NATO would move more troops to the eastern borders of it member states. 

Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser said, while the Russians had a list of security concerns, so did the United States and its European allies, and that Washington was willing to negotiate on that basis. . . “We’ve had a dialogue with Russia on European security issues for the last 20 years,” “We had it with the Soviet Union for decades before that.” That process “has sometimes produced progress, sometimes produced deadlock,” and noted that the United States planned “to put on the table our concern with Russian activities that we believe harm our interests and values.” “It’s very difficult to see agreements getting consummated, if we’re continuing to see an escalatory cycle.” Essentially, there are things that are non-starters but there are things we can talk about. 

Reminds me of an ambassador who defined the difference between a Lady and a Diplomat. If a Lady says no, she means maybe, if she says maybe she means yes and if she says yes, she is no Lady. If a Diplomat says yes, he means maybe, if he says maybe he means no and if he says no, he is no Diplomat.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said:  “We are clear that any dialogue with Russia must take into account NATO’s concerns about Russia’s actions, be based on key principles and documents on European security, and take place in consultation with NATO’s European partners such as Ukraine,. . We reaffirm our support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. NATO’s relations with Ukraine are a matter only for Ukraine and 30 NATO allies,”

“We will always respond in a determined way to any deterioration of our security environment, including by strengthening our collective defense posture as necessary. NATO will take all necessary measures to ensure the security and defense of all NATO Allies. Any further aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and would carry a high price… We support the right of all countries to decide their future and foreign policy free from outside interference. NATO’s relationship with Ukraine is a matter only for Ukraine and the 30 NATO Allies. We firmly reject any attempts to divide Allied security.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko said, “It is the reversal of the escalation and the ending of Russia’s international armed conflict that is the best guarantee of security on the continent,” “The same position is shared by the North Atlantic Alliance itself, which is confirmed, in particular, in its statement of 16 December 2021. The same applies to the exclusive sovereign right of Ukraine to independently determine the development of relations with foreign states at the bilateral level, including in the field of military cooperation,” 

“We urge Russia… to return immediately and unconditionally to the constructive agenda and to start implementing the Minsk Agreements and the Normandy Leaders’ Agreements now, in particular the agreed conclusions of the 2019 Normandy Quarter summit. It is first of all strict adherence to the ceasefire, further draw away of forces, continuation of the demining process, implementation of the political aspects of the Agreed Conclusions of the Paris Summit, opening and ensuring the proper functioning of new checkpoints on the contact line, holding the next stages of mutual release of POWs and exchange of their lists.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned the U.S. and NATO against ignoring its recent proposal for a security agreement, in which Moscow seeks to roll back many of the security advances NATO has made in Eastern Europe, while tacitly dangling the threat of further military incursion into Ukraine. Urging that it be considered “with the utmost seriousness,” Ryabkov also pointed out that the draft should not be considered a menu of options from which some could be selected, and others rejected. He stressed that the Kremlin’s draft is a “package” that must be dealt with in its entirety. Putin’s proposal comes with a Jan. 14 deadline can be considered an ultimatum.

Michael Anthony McFaul is an American academic and diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. He is @McFaul on Twitter. He posted the following (thanks, Ostap)

Putin is not threatened by NATO expansion. Mighty Russia is not threatened by NATO expansion. NATO has never and will never attack Russia. Putin has reinvented this so-called threat to justify his latest coercive diplomacy... and maybe escalated military intervention in Ukraine.

Now that Putin has published his ideas for a new European security agreement, let me propose some additional articles to the draft agreement.

Article 1. Russia agrees to withdraw its forces from Moldova and restore full sovereignty to this European country.

Article 2. Russia agrees to withdraw its forces from Georgia, renounce recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries and restore the full sovereignty of Georgia.

Article 3. Russia agrees to withdraw its forces from Ukraine, return Crimea to Ukraine, stop supporting separatist forces in Ukraine, and restore the full sovereignty of this European country.

Article 4. Russia's agrees to withdraw Iskandar missiles from Kaliningrad.

Article 5. Recognizing the importance of defending both individual and state security, Russia agrees to stop assassination operations against anyone residing Europe, be it the UK, Germany, or Russia.

Article 6. Russia reaffirms its commitment to agreements already signed including the Helsinki Final Act, the Paris Charter, the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.

I have more to add. But that's enough to get the negotiations rolling.

I like how he thinks. Wonder if anyone will take notice. I guess we'll have a Merry Christmas but whether we have a Happy New Year remains to be seen.


  1. Aarrgh.
    Even half a world away I watch and I worry.

  2. I sure hope it all turns out well for Ukraine. Best wishes!

  3. There are more than a few that should FOAD, I won't make the List. Hope all goes well for Ukraine, this must be so stressful! I'm worried about our own Nation too, things don't look good, if we fall it will be from within.

    1. Not looking good for America, is it, Dawn?. Manchin is a traitor. Without a miracle, USA will be a fascist dictatorship by 2025.

    2. I predicted by 2024 that will be the outcome, those who Study Civil Wars and work with the CIA about predicting unraveling Countries and the Threat of loss of Democracy are now predicting we're on that 'List'. I wonder how many Countries are predicting that America is doomed and will either distance themselves from us as an Ally or wait to swoop in and pillage the spoils of the demise?

    3. I saw that article. Pretty grim prognostication as they suggest you are at Stage 2 of 3.

  4. Who knows what will happen. My guess Putin will be in for long time. He sly one.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

    1. Putin can stay until 2036 if he so desires. He wants his legacy to be restoration of the Russian/Soviet Empire. He is terrified of a western leaning democratic Ukraine on his border because it sets and example his onw citizens may want to follow.

  5. I've never trusted Putin. If he insists on war, the scary thing is that NATO may oblige him.

    1. I don't understand. What are you suggesting, Putin should just be given Ukraine?

  6. One of the big problems for NATO standing up to Russia is Europe's dependence on Russian gas. Russia can, of course, employ cyber attacks with pretty much impunity; but they can also cut off gas supplies to European countries that depend on it for winter heating.
    This is a creeping contagion - if Russia is allowed to enter Ukraine and only faces sanctions, then this will only be the beginning of Russian expansion. Sometimes you have to draw a line and defend it. Russia could not survive a full NATO military defense of Ukraine. The U.S. spent twenty years in nation building in the Middle-East and should have gotten out years early; but Ukraine is a totally different matter. A democracy threatened by a rogue power. Not a time for appeasement.
    the Ol'Buzzard

    1. Russia would not survive but neither would we. Put in is a suicide bomber with nuclear weapons. He has said if Russia is going down, he is taking everybody with him. That is the scary part.

    2. America is an empire, with hegemonic political, financial and/or military control of many countries. It is an experiment in that it set out to be a democratic republic. I agree about the ideological crazies. They worship Putin, Orban and every other tin pot dictator around the globe and are setting up to take control of USA. I fear for America and therefore fear for Ukraine as the EU is in no position to protect us. Слава Україні. Слава її героям

    3. Thank you for your response. Only, wouldn't you mind it, if I'll try to argue with it for a little?

      \\America is an empire, with hegemonic political, financial and/or military control of many countries.

      Heh. I was living in an (remnant of) empire. So, I think, that makes me somewhat experienced to talk this way.

      That you said that is just "phantom pains" of being empire. As USA was a colony of one. And culturally included much of its. "Burden of white man" and etc.
      I'll repeat my list of empire traits here:

      1. Expansionism. Well, was Iraq, Syria and Afganistan added to the body of USA empire??? Even if as colonies? Nope.

      2. Universal law. Em, isn't it's USA absteing from some UN laws, instead of pushing OWN laws as universal for all?

      3. Cultural unification. (Une nation, une folk, une lang), em? USA domestically have a big push to adopt other languages and cultures, instead of pushing own.

      If that is USA idea of Being Empire never the less... it's easy to understand why such countries with long history of being bona fide empires do not understand you and even making jokes of you. Like China, Iran and etc.

      \\It is an experiment in that it set out to be a democratic republic.

      Oh, but USA is not first. And most probably not last.
      You probably know/heard about Kozak's Democratic Republic. ;)

      \\ I agree about the ideological crazies. They worship Putin, Orban and every other tin pot dictator around the globe and are setting up to take control of USA. I fear for America and therefore fear for Ukraine as the EU is in no position to protect us. Слава Україні. Слава її героям

      Glory to Ukraine! To Heroes Glory!

    4. Your definition of empire is too limited. Portugal, Spain, and France in turn had empires based on water and sea power. Of course, the British Empire was the last and biggest of the water and sea power based empires. I am afraid you will not find many to agree with you that America is not an empire. It may or may not be a crumbling empire as most end the same way, overcome by rot on the inside and enemies on the outside. China is hell bent on expanding its empire, based on financial control. Belt and Road etc

    5. \\Your definition of empire is too limited. Portugal, Spain, and France in turn had empires based on water and sea power.

      Yes, we can subdivide it into sea and continental empires.
      And add many more definitions, because there is always are something different. Even snowflakes not one and the same. What we can say about such big and fuzzy things.

      Well, my concern is that -- it is dangerous to be(come) empire right now.
      Empires do fight with each other.
      That is our blessing that USA not empire, that's why we experienced Cold War that remained cold. Because USA was not interested in good fight.

      Compare it with Napoleonic France and Russia.
      Damn, Hitler and Stalin. They both was seeking ways to make a good fight. At expense of millions of lifes.

      As for China... that is questionable -- is they empire, still?
      Well, being empire is part of their history too.
      But that was very weak and uninterested to expand empire...

      I think, what they do now it's not because of natural drive, but because of boredom -- they just trying to find reasons to exist. I mean communistic party.
      Very similar to Put in's RFia.

      Well, pardon me for my intrusion. And my unsolicited thoughts about history and all.Was interested to know opinion of such a person that saw both worlds.

      Have a nice day, and all your wishes come true.
      And peace to all us.

    6. You may be right about China. At any rate, I have enjoyed our conversation. My email is on my blog, if you care to continue at some future time. Where are you located? Perhaps we might even meet some day? Have a happy and peaceful new year.

    7. You have my handshake.

      Though, we are not that close: and geographically (I'm from Cherkasi), and in age and etc.
      I returning you your warm greatings and...
      let it be, someday.
      Peace. Happiness. And... prosperity. Even if for a little.

    8. "America is an empire, with hegemonic political, financial and/or military control of many countries."

      America's ability to use its military to invade and occupy other nations has become a joke during my lifetime because the American public hasn't been solidly behind any of their nation's wars since WW II--and then there's the desire to avoid a nuclear war. As for the other ways that you consider America an empire, having strong influence doesn't translate into having irresistible control over an unwilling people. That aside, did the subject of American imperialism come up in this discussion because you believe America's objection to a Russian invasion is based upon its desire to add Ukraine to what you regard as its empire?

    9. No, of course not. If you follow the thread, whoever anonymous is thinks that Empires are contiguous land based and only Russia and China qualify.
      "...having strong influence doesn't translate into having irresistible control over an unwilling people." Meaning what? As long as you have the government by the short and curlies through such things as IMF/WB loans and the military to keep chaos at a minimum, who cares if the population is willing or otherwise.

    10. Thank you for your response. I nearly deleted it unread because "Anonymous" responders are often spammers or else people who add nothing positive to a discussion. If you don't want to set up an account, you might at least sign your comments with a name so that you can be distinguished from others who comment as "Anonymous."

      Imperialism is the behavior of a nation that seeks to extend it authority over other nations. An empire is a group of nations that are under the authority of another nation. They need not be contiguous (the British, Spanish, Portuguese, and American empires were hardly contiguous), but they must be directly and militarily controlled by.

  7. FOAD: I assume that is fuck-off and die.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  8. I worry about you and your family so much...sending love

    1. Thank you so much, dear lady. We will be fine, just taking it one day at a time. It's all we can do at the moment.

    2. I too worry about you every time that I hear about increased tensions, which is everyday, yet the news also has a sameness with Putin making the same demands and NATO denying them.

    3. There is nothing to negotiate with Putins demands. No one knows what he will do.


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