Russia’s Sabre-Rattling: Not Just Bluster About Banks and Ukraine Unrest

Last Friday, CNBC interviewed Andrey Kostin, CEO of Russia’s second largest bank, following the EU’s decision to extend economic sanctions against Russia, ostensibly to punish Russia for hostilities against Ukraine. Kostin’s comments were combative.

“You know, we have quite a strong opinion on sanctions. Sanctions, in other words, is economic war against Russia. Economic war will definitely have and will have very negative implications on the Russian economy, but more than that it will have very negative implications on the political dialogue and on security in Europe. And who wants to live in a less secure world? I think nobody. I think it’s the wrong way to treat Russia like this. I think it will never to lead to any other consequences as to less stability and less secure Europe.” [sic]

“”You can’t treat any country like this. You know you can’t say, if you behave rightly, that’s a small [weep*] for you, if you behave wrongly, that’s a big [weep*] for you.’ That’s not a dialog, that’s a threat. … I think we should talk. I mean, politicians should talk, like business men. Business men do talk, and they are interested in working together. …”

In short, Russia feels the sanctions are warfare, and they want to deal. They’d really like the asymmetric attack on finance to stop short of terminating Russian banks’ access to SWIFT (the impact of which WaPo spells out).

But the banks’ discomfort with the sanctions and continued incursions against Ukraine aren’t the only signs of Russian belligerence. By year end, there had been forty events characterized as “close military encounters” during 2014, according to European Leadership Network, a non-partisan, nonprofit think tank.

ELN published an interactive graphic mapping the location of the events, as well as a brief (pdf) in which the events are described in greater detail, including

‘…11 serious incidents of a more aggressive or unusually provocative nature, bringing a higher level risk of escalation. These include harassment of reconnaissance planes, close overflights over warships, and Russian ‘mock bombing raid’ missions. It also singles out 3 high risk incidents which in our view carried a high probability of causing casualties or a direct military confrontation: a narrowly avoided collision between a civilian airliner and Russian surveillance plane, abduction of an Estonian intelligence officer, and a large-scale Swedish ‘submarine hunt’.”

ELN calls for:

1. The Russian leadership should urgently re-evaluate the costs and risks of continuing its more assertive military posture, and Western diplomacy should be aimed at persuading Russia to move in this direction.

2. All sides should exercise military and political restraint.

3. All sides must improve military-to-military communication and transparency.

Though pro-Europe in its position, ELN does not appear to be pushing EU policy. The group has been funded by anti-proliferation groups, including two Quaker-funded trusts.

What’s surprising about these incidents is the relative lack of US media coverage during 2014, in spite of their frequency and seriousness. The lack of coverage continues into 2015, with very little notice of another interception of Russian bombers flying over the English Channel on January 28 — the day before CEO Kostin was making his rather bellicose comments about EU sanctions, and the UK was hearing testimony in a two-day inquiry into Alexander Litvenenko’s 2006 death-by-polonium, attributed to poisoning by Russian agents.

BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said the Russian planes – two Tu-95 Bear H bombers – came within 25 miles of the UK.

They travelled from the north, past the west coast of Ireland and to the English Channel before turning and going back the way they had come, he said.

He said the bombers did not file a flight plan, did not have their transponders switched on and “weren’t talking to air traffic control”.


The UK media has provided more coverage of this event as a whole, though some of it may be inflammatory if not hyperbole. One outlet reported that the intercepted Russian bomber was carrying a nuclear warhead, though not armed. The same outlet also reported a much higher number of Russian plane interceptions than indicated by ELN:

Last year, NATO conducted more than 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft, about three times as many as in 2013, amid sharply increased tensions between the West and Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

While this latest two-bomber fly-by was attributed to Russia’s annoyance with the Litvenenko inquiry, the increasing pattern of intercepts and confrontations, combined with Russian banks’ unease with economic sanctions, persistent cyberwarfare, and recently arrested Russian spies in the U.S., suggests far more than a cold war is under way.

We’d better hope nobody gets twitchy in this very ugly game of chicken.


40 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    * the word Kotsin uses sounds like “week,” but I can’t be certain because of his accent and his just-less-than optimum fluency in English. Anybody have a better interpretation?

    • Rayne says:

      I don’t trust close captioning with accented non-English, but weep makes somewhat more sense contextually than week. I’ll change it but leave in the asterisks. The use of weep versus cry or another word suggesting pain has been applied makes my case about his not-quite-fluent English. Thanks for looking.

  2. bevin says:

    The “Swedish submarine hunt” can hardly be blamed on Russia: there was no submarine, but Sweden and the NATO warmongers insisted otherwise.
    As to military provocations, including bombers over the English Channel, these are minor compared to the troop movements by NATO up to the Russian borders, the expansion of NATO, despite agreements, and the successive attempts, financed by the US, to bring about regime change in Russia and Belarus. Not to mention the coup in Georgia and the Georgian attack on Ossettia or, of course, the Maidan coup in Ukraine featuring Nazis militias.
    It is, indeed, to be hoped that there is no outbreak of war over Ukraine but there is no doubt who is responsible for the current danger. And it doesn’t have its HQ in the Kremlin, though it does have an Embassy in Moscow which is openly used to co-ordinate anti-government activities.
    Obama is publicly crediting his administration with the successful “brokering” of last year’s violent coup in Kiev- which, incidentally, led immediately to brutal attacks on leftist politicians, purges of public servants-of a kind not seen in Ukraine since the honoured progenitors of the current government there massacred Jews in Lvov-and a proscription Russian speakers. This was the root cause of the current crisis.
    Earlier today Kiev forces which have been shelling Donetsk for months, turned their fire onto a public hospital. These are the forces, sporting Nazi regalia and including ultra right fanatics from every cesspool in Europe, which Washington is proposing to equip with modern arms and unlimited ammunition.

  3. emptywheel says:

    I’ve been saying a lot that I have a lot less faith than I used to — even during the Cold War™ — that our leaders will avoid starting a new world war.


    In fact, I think it increasingly likely.

    • bloopie2 says:

      Maybe the fact that you (like the rest of us) are getting older is causing you to increasingly distrust all authority figures. Think about it, after all — how much have they really done for you, in your life, versus how much have they used you to their benefit? Ya gotta take care of yourself, not count on others to do that.

    • Tom in AZ says:

      I agree. And whether it is because the hold over neo-cons, and the neo-libs have enough sway with Obama (or maneuver him into limited options based on ideological gatekeeping at State and Defense), we are stupidly picking a fight we sure as hell don’t need. The blood is on our hands in Ukraine – no matter how much propaganda we screech out daily. It is madness, and cannot end well. Not for Ukraine, its people, Europe in general and us.

      This is going to bite the US and Britain in the ass. And take a big chunk our of both.

    • Rayne says:

      I’m fully aware the Obama administration started this bullshit with Ukraine, just as they did in Hong Kong. And I’m fully aware the Saudis are doing their share of economic assymetric warfare here, too. But a bomber sortie 25 miles off Britain’s coast?

      That’s completely irresponsible, and it begins to look like a different kind of bullshit when the Russians are aware Scotland wants to rid itself of Trident. How will that serve either Russian or anyone else’s interests, to foment fear in UK causing them to cling to Trident?

    • Rayne says:

      Just takes one cowboy, regardless of nationality, and we’d be up the creek—one tetchy teenager with a happy trigger finger. Seriously feels like the Reagan years all over again, between this “cold war” escalation and the steady regression of women’s status.

  4. jo6pac says:

    Nothing personal but I feel like I’m reading some propaganda written by Amerikan/British state departments. Just saying;)

    • Rayne says:

      The absence of news is propagandistic when all the US has heard about instead is a few cases of Ebola here and ISIS-beheadings-ISIS 24/7/365. Amazing how we’re so willing to spend more money on MIC based on a handful of fatalities.

      Not particularly good propaganda effort on Russia’s part today with so-called “pro-Russian rebels” shelling a hospital, following last week’s ridiculous UK fly-by. Russia wants better PR? This isn’t it.

  5. Don Bacon says:

    This anti-Russia propaganda coming out of London, especially the BBC — I wonder if there’s a pattern here? Maybe. I guess they got tired of Syria.

  6. Evangelista says:

    RE: Kostin comment: In Russian, as in French, the long ‘i’ is common, the short ‘i’ is not, so when you hear an ‘ee’ sound, adjust to an ‘i’ sound. This makes a “small wheeps” vs “big wheeps” comparison a “small whips” as against “big whips” comparison, as in, give them light beatings for doing right and heay beatings for doing wrong.

    Even the BBC news report seems to recognize that the shelling of the hospital in Donetsk, in rebel held territory, was not a “pro-Russian-rebels” shelling. It has been the Kiev regime shelling civilians in the east, apparently with intent to drive them to emigrate to Russia (even though they speak Russian they are predominantly Ukrainians), to “cleanse” the industrial Donbas, while leaving the industries, among them many military production ones Russia has depended on, but not moved east, or replaced in the east, for its “partnership” perspective.

    Note tht flying by without permission is not threatening, it is only getting into others’ space, wherefore it is a counterpart to pushing NATO into Russian space.

  7. Don Bacon says:

    “What’s surprising about these incidents is the relative lack of US media coverage during 2014”
    Perhaps because these “incidents” were merely that, and not newsworthy? After all, an airplane flying in international airspace is no big deal to most people.
    And no Russian planes were intercepted, to my knowledge. Now THAT would have been illegal.
    And why would the Novorussians shell a hospital in their own territory.
    ” CEO Kostin was making his rather bellicose comments about EU sanctions”
    What is bellicose about urging talks?
    “Russian spies in the U.S.”
    Sure. They were allegedy…wait for it…getting information on bank penalties. OMG!
    “Last week’s security scare was branded an “escalation” of Russian aggression because Russian bombers do not usually fly so far south of Scotland”
    An escalation, because they don’t usually fly there.
    This piece is mostly London-based anti-Russia BS, IOW.

  8. scribe says:

    Kind of entertaining, watching all the trolls try to find this justification or that for Russia doing what they’re doing.
    Let’s stipulate that the West is not driven-snow pure when it comes to Ukraine. The situation there is such a muddled mess it does not pay to try to unravel it here. Which, I suppose, is why the trolls bring it up. I will ay one thing though: the Germans, who for better or worse get to lead Europe, have absolutely no appetite for further military escalation in Ukraine. If you spoke German (which I do) you would have heard the shudder in their media’s voices when they started discussing the place names going on a year ago now, and would have read their fears from the tone of their press coverage. They still remember what fighting Russians in the Ukraine is like and want no part of it.
    But, more to the point, let’s talk about Russian bombers 25 miles off the English coast and similar stuff.
    Fact: During the Cold War, they never did that, nor anything (with aircraft) that aggressive. The Tu-95 Bear bombers – what the Russians used in the most recent incident – were, when introduced, a contemporary and rough equivalent to the US’ B-52. Long range, intercontinental strategic bombers. Nuclear capable. As they remain.
    As time passed, the role for the Tu-95 evolved from strategic, city-buster bomber to long-range anti-naval bomber, carrying heavy-duty nuclear-capable cruise missiles intended to sink US naval task forces and (thereby) prevent the US from reinforcing Europe in the event of Soviet invasion. Their role then evolved from anti-naval strike planes to anti-naval recon planes – to find the US/NATO task forces, and ELINT platforms as the mission of actually launching the cruise missiles moved to newer, faster long-range bombers (like the infamous Backfire of the 70s and 80s). And they would cruise by the east coast of the US just inside international airspace (and outside US airspace) at high altitude to hoover up as much electronic chatter as they could, land and turn around in Cuba and go back to Russia. This went on until the collapse of the Soviet Union.
    Putting them back on this patrol, which Russia did several months ago, was itself an escalation. Pushing them into the English Channel, a major provocation.
    The thing is, those of us old enough to remember the Cold War will remember how we almost got ourselves and the rest of the world blown up about 4 times (if the TV shows are accurate) between August 1983 and January 1984:
    1. Soviet ballistic missile defense systems “detected” what they thought was a launch of US ICBMs. The computers were screaming “launch” but the watch officer countermanded it because it didn’t “look right”. Turned out their early warning satellites were catching the sun reflecting off high cirrus clouds over the US Midwest.
    2. Able Archer. You can look it up. Suffice it to say that the Warsaw pact planes were on the ends of their runways, loaded with nukes and engines turning.
    3. Shooting down the Korean Airliner, killing hundreds. Among them a US congressman.
    4. A couple border incidents on the W. German/Czech border that devolved to MiGs doing a flyby of a US training area in Germany.
    And, in the middle of that, we invaded Grenada to displace a Soviet-friendly/Cuban-supported government with one more to our liking, and some jerk blew up the Marine barracks in Beirut, killing a couple hundred Americans. and in the middle of that we were deploying out GLCM and Pershing 2 nukes, in response to the Soviets SS20 and nuke-armed land Backfires.
    Mind you, Grenada and Beirut happened within a week or 10 days of each other and within a month of both the KAL flight (and Reforger 83, including B-52s simulating carpet bombing Soviet invaders, hard against the Inter-German Border) in the one direction and the Able Archer in the other direction.
    And all that came to pass because knuckleheads in power got their dicks hard about not backing down and making the other guy fear them, on the one hand, and reacting to their fears of the other guy, on the other.
    You might try to poo-poo what I’ve had to say, but you’d lose. I lived it. I can point to the spot on the map of the Fulda Gap where I would have died, most likely in some nuke’s flash, had cooler heads not prevailed.
    So, let’s cool it.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, scribe.

      The bullshit the US started in Ukraine is annoying and clumsy as hell, but it only took off because there were adequate numbers of supporters in Ukraine. (Ditto for Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution.) A substantive reason why the pissing match started is energy-based, of course, but fascist “oil-igarchs” aside, Russia’s stranglehold on energy pipelines through Ukraine running to the EU has been problematic for decades. Until the EU can become self-sufficient with alternative energy sources, the EU has been prone to gross extortion from Russia AND other fossil fuel-rich countries.

      The US signed its soul away a decade-plus before I was born, when it sought assurances from Saudis post-WWII that the US would be assured of continuity — meaning, oil would continue to flow. The price of this assurance was protecting the Saudis. But breaking a bargain with the devil — easy oil and other fossil fuel — is virtually impossible once the signatory has become addicted. We can see in published reports by both the US State Dept and Defense Dept that energy as well as climate change are seen as enormous threats to national security; but as long as the US’ soul remains the property of fossil fuel, those threats cannot be answered directly.

      So how does the US get out of a lifetime-long deal with the devil? Very carefully, and with no guarantee any efforts will work.

      If I had to hazard a guess, the current play is the collapse of Putin’s regime in exchange for takeover of Russian fossil fuel reserves. Crash it by putting pressure on him militarily and economically at the same time, by aggravating him in Ukraine and hurting his image globally (and he is doing himself no favors whatsoever), while starving the Russian economy of revenues from fossil fuels.

      Many pieces on the board are put into play at the same time. Dramatically undercutting the price of fossil fuels by flooding the market with oil has also hurt revenues of other players. Iran’s and Venezuela’s economies rely heavily on oil sales; Iran may find itself digging deeper for cash to pay for nuclear development, and Venezuela can no longer offer aid to Cuba, especially now that it is facing a coup.

      (Nice side benefit, taking out companies invested in fracking, by the way. As long as oil remains under USD50-60/bbl, they will find it tough to reengage. A nice fuck you to Koch Bros, too, if you think about it; they’re now more dependent on our consumption of toilet paper than oil for their revenues.)

      The real challenge is sloppy aggression, combined with a stunning lack of awareness and analysis, which prevents the public globally from seeing these situations for what they are. We are looking at the end of oil, even if today it looks like a glut. These are the moves of desperate players, grasping at tectonics to save themselves; they are burning down their houses in order to grab someone else’s.

      These desperate moves include not only starting a new land war at Russia’s doorstep, but encouraging absolutely stupid tactics on the part of their target. Flying two TU-95s through the ~21 mile wide space between UK and France, within 80 miles of London and 180 miles of Paris is just plain insanity — and the last two years have seen a steady ramp up of this craziness, preceding hostilities in Ukraine, mostly ignored by the US public.

      But then the public was merely bemused by the poisoning of Litvinenko, too, failing to see it as a massive FUCK YOU to the UK and EU. This was a political assassination designed to make a point, not a discreet elimination of a problematic individual. And that was in 2006…

      Meanwhile, the American public just stares into their squeaky-new iPhones, hypnotized by binge-watching streamed media, checking Tindr compulsively, instead of taking this opportunity to buy and implement solar and wind power collection systems using the money they’re saving on gasoline.

      Readers can crab at me all they want about what they see as my so-called pro-west propaganda. If they know me at all, they’d know I’m just as likely to turn my aim on them directly and ask them just what the hell they’ve done lately to reduce fossil fuel use so that the US can get the hell out of its bargain with the devil. If the west doesn’t dramatically halt its consumption patterns RTFN, one of two things will likely happen, based on the current plays in motion: 1) Something enormously stupid will happen, like a huge accidental bombing, or a cyber warfare event on a massive scale; 2) Russia will just plain hunker down and shut off the pumps on all pipelines, period.

      Or hell, maybe both. I can actually picture even worse. And then what’s bitching about pro-west propaganda going to do? Damned hard to post about it when one can’t charge their iPhone. I imagine Chinese leadership laughing daily at both the US and Russia; what looks like an abuse of free speech by shutting the doors on their country’s internet might actually be preparation against the likelihood of a massively stupid event.

      • Evangelista says:

        You say, “I’m just as likely to turn my aim on them directly and ask them just what the hell they’ve done lately to reduce fossil fuel use”
        If you turn on Russia and ask this, they might point out that their TU-95s are fuel-efficient turbo-prop driven. This means they can fly-by Britain for about the same fuel-use it takes the Brits, or the U.S.Marines, who fly the same aircraft, to fly a single sortie with the same number of Harriers.
        Next cheaper would be Cessnas.

        • Rayne says:

          All well and good that Russia is so energy efficient; that’s what happens when a country is run top-down by a central authority figure using consolidated power. You’ll note I didn’t bother to criticize US military, because they have indicated in their Quadrennial Defense Report they know they have a problem wrt to energy.

          Nor did I waste my time criticizing Congress, which has hamstrung the US military. A majority of Congress is simply on the take, too easily bought and manipulated by energy interests.

          It’s down to the American public to simply fix the mess by changing consumption patterns since they don’t otherwise have sufficient wherewithal to change Congress, and in turn, the military.

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      Re the Tu-95 Bear bombers being nuclear capable, flying close to be UK… well, now I guess the West knows how North Korea feels when the dry nuclear runs off their border take place. The No. Koreans asked Obama to deal: stop the military “exercises” and they’ll stop developing nukes. The U.S. would not even talk about it.

      The history of US intervention in Ukraine goes back decades, as I’ve shown. While Putin is the representative now of Russian capitalist interests, not Soviets, it is clearly the U.S. that is the bellicose party here, and like Marcy, I hear the hot breath of those hungry for world war and what they think is world domination: conquer Russia, North Korea, China. US-NATO promoting “democracy” over the whole world; democracy like the shock-and-awe Nazi-like attack on Iraq that killed 100s of thousands.

      Now is the time to speak out against US-NATO war moves.

  9. TomVet says:

    I think this is a good time to bring up these two posts by Patrick L. Smith in Salon recently.
    Jan 20
    His writing style is somewhat above my comprehension style, so I had to carefully read these several times to get what he was actually saying. But when I did see it, I was bowled over. What follows is my short version but you should give a look and draw your own conclusions.
    A] This is not Cold War 2.0 but rather WW 3.0(beta) limited release.
    B] Putin and most of Russia see this and think they are in fact at war with us. They are reacting accordingly.
    C] Europe is slowly coming to the same conclusion and wants none of it, except for those who are of a similar mindset with the neocons who are perpetrating this. Having already experienced the first two versions, they are not willing to try the new one. The German people who fought the Bear in winter in eastern Europe the last time around really don’t want to do it again no matter how their government feels about Washington’s plans.
    D] Due to all the secrecy in DC these last years and the hold the media has been under regarding all of this, or their complicity in it, the American people haven’t got a clue. The people who do see what is afoot and are discussing it have no real platform to disseminate it so it rarely gets heard anywhere, although it can be found in much of the European and Asian press. Therefore nothing of consequence happens here that can counteract it.
    E] The crazed oligarchs or plutocrats or power mad sociopaths who are responsible for all of this think, as they always do, that they can control the monster they have created. However, unlike a comic book, movie or sci-fi story, there is no caped crusader, no Lone Ranger, no true statesmen anywhere in the wings to ride to the rescue this time.
    If we and the people in the other affected countries cannot find a way to stop these folks by whatever means possible the future will be grim.

    • Don Bacon says:

      The US, not Russia, instigated this situation in Ukraine with a Nazi-backed coup against the democratic government in Kyev. The goal was, and is, to move NATO up to Russia’s doorstep and take over the Russia naval base in Crimea.
      Russia wouldn’t stand for it, nor should it. Putin has been moderate about the situation and continually promoted a peaceful solution, but he rightfully will not allow NATO to threaten Russia’s security.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for sharing that. I vote for WW3.0.2., but not a beta. Have wondered for a while now if the 2008 crash was a feeble feint at WW3.0.1 designed to negatively impact some nation-states’ sovereign funds (collateral damage be damned), with Stuxnet and the bombing of a Syrian facility in 2007 both WW3.0.0.

      Years from now we may be able to say one way or the other, beta or production, as we sit around the fire.

  10. Don Bacon says:

    news report:
    One of the few prominent Westerners who has dared question the prevailing wisdom on Ukraine is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who said, in an interview with the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, that the West was exaggerating the significance of the Crimean annexation given the peninsula’s long historic ties to Russia.

    “The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest,” the 91-year-old Kissinger said. “It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia” – as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others have suggested.

    Kissinger noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had no intention of instigating a crisis in Ukraine: “Putin spent tens of billions of dollars on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The theme of the Olympics was that Russia is a progressive state tied to the West through its culture and, therefore, it presumably wants to be part of it. So it doesn’t make any sense that a week after the close of the Olympics, Putin would take Crimea and start a war over Ukraine.”

    Instead Kissinger argued that the West – with its strategy of pulling Ukraine into the orbit of the European Union – was responsible for the crisis by failing to understand Russian sensitivity over Ukraine and making the grave mistake of quickly pushing the confrontation beyond dialogue.

  11. Don Bacon says:

    news report
    Angela Merkel and François Hollande have announced a surprise European diplomatic intervention over east Ukraine, with the pair due in Kiev on Thursday and Moscow on Friday in an attempt to end the violence which has cost more than 5,000 lives.
    “Together with Angela Merkel we have decided to take a new initiative,” Hollande told a news conference. “We will make a new proposal to solve the conflict which will be based on Ukraine’s territorial integrity.” It will be Merkel’s first trip to Russia since the outbreak of violence in eastern Ukraine began.
    Minsk among other things called for a federalization of Ukraine with autonomous provinces (what Crimea was) to protect the rights and language of the ethnic Russians in the east. Poroshenko torpedoed that, and now the Kyev junta forces are losing on the battlefield.
    This situation is ruinous for Europe so hopefully Germany and France can do something positive to compensate for the wrongful UK policy of negativity and anti-Russian babbling.

    • Rayne says:

      Do you know what “good cop, bad cop” looks like?

      And do you think Merkel would be in as good a position to negotiate if Germany hadn’t managed to shift 40% of its needs to alternate energies?

      Also haven’t forgotten the unfortunate death of France’s Total SA’s CEO when his plane met the snowplow, putting an end to his pro-Russian rhetoric.

      • jo6pac says:

        Also haven’t forgotten the unfortunate death of France’s Total SA’s CEO when his plane met the snowplow, putting an end to his pro-Russian rhetoric.

        Nothing was gained by his death the new ceo is pro Russian also and all programs with the Russians are moving forward.

        I only drive 1200mi per yr in my small truck and grow about 65% of my own food. I also trade with my neighbors for items I might need and they have. I’ve rent for 30yrs the same small house out in Ag world in the Central Valley of Calif and right have my fingers crossed that it Rains this weekend.

        • Rayne says:

          LOL You don’t think the new CEO isn’t looking over his shoulder from time to time? You might look at what deals the new guy is cutting/has cut, because the former CEO had some baggage, like this.

  12. Don Bacon says:

    SecState Kerry will also be in Kyev trying to get Poroshenko to continue the war in Ukraine. So it will be US vs. EU, and the US will probably prevail. Mo’ war is US basic strategy. There’s so much money in it.
    And remember what State’s Nuland said about the EU. “F**k the EU.”

  13. Phlipn says:

    The aggressor here is not Russia, but the US and NATO. Not sure if Rayne has anything important to offer here or if Rayne is presenting some kind of bizarre liberal American Exceptionalism…

      • Phlipn says:

        The Russian bombers wouldn’t be flying if NATO and the US had not filled East Europe with Troops, Armour and Planes on a war footing on Russia’s borders. It was US aggression that brought about the regional tensions not Russia’s.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh come on now, you’re going to have to dig deeper than that. You’ve only stepped back one move on the chessboard.

          What set US action in motion in Ukraine? Hmm? There were a LOT of moves on the world energy game board between Litvinenko’s assassination and “US aggression.” And before Litvinenko’s death, there were even more moves across the board, like Russia’s long relationship with Iran in support of its nuclear energy program, or the tension between Putin’s desire to consolidate and retain power, the drive of oligarchs’ firms like Yukos toward privatization, and the push for nationalization a la Georgia in 2008.

  14. Anonymous 157 says:

    This great website has always had poor, IMHO, grasp of what is going on in the world. Given its superb grasp of what is happening here at home, how could the folks have had time?

    But Rayne is not the answer.

    Rayne needs to go back and watch a hundred hours of video, or two, of the last year in the Ukraine. And informed commentary, including, RT. She? does not illuminate.

    • Rayne says:

      LOL What, this isn’t comprehensive enough? (I do draw the line at Fox, and I am skeptical about any NewsCorp outlet.) And I should add your suggested outlet, RT, a state-funded media outlet intended to disperse news to outside Russia, because isn’t a Putin mouthpiece? Uh-huh.

      So sorry I’m not providing your flavor of uniformly anti-US dissent. I get twitchy about any world leader who is both corrupt and careless with nuclear materials. I felt that way about Bush/Cheney, too.

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