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Ukraine: The Debaltsevo Plot Thickens

February 23, 2015

With the fall of Debaltsevo some interesting military-technical questions are starting to emerge. Is the Ukrainian general staff grossly incompetent, or outright treasonous?  “A colonel is a rank,” says my source, a former general officer of a NATO-affiliated army, “but a general is a clinical diagnosis.” Ever since Hannibal’s masterful double-pincer maneuver at Cannae it has been the wet dream of field commanders to repeat the feat, to surround and annihilate the enemy in a cauldron. Some ancient strategists,... Read article

A Quiet European

January 17, 2015

Lt. Col. Dr. Mark Obrtel is a 48 year old officer of the army of the Czech Republic who has served with distinction in his country’s missions under NATO command in the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. We would never know of him were it not for the fact that on December 30 he returned all his medals awarded for this service, and justified his decision in a letter to the Czech minister of defense that could have been written by Paul Craig Roberts or Patrick Buchanan. Had a senior officer of an army unsubservient to the... Read article

2015: A Global Assessment

January 6, 2015

It is futile to make any but short-term predictions on world affairs: there are just too many variables in the equation, too many unknown-unknowns. The escalation of the Ukrainian crisis and the rise in U.S.-Russian tensions could have been forecast a year ago, in general terms at least, but the explosive rise of ISIS could not. It is nevertheless possible and often useful to outline the contours of probable developments on the basis of existing structural vectors and recent dynamics. “Time is not heterogeneous,” Raymond... Read article

Ukraine Is A Long-Term Affair

December 20, 2014

In Ukraine the United States presented Russia with its most serious challenge in the last quarter-century. Russia has not responded to that challenge in a timely manner. She proved unable to anticipate and then counter the Maidan scenario last winter, even though the grand rehearsal was presented with the “Orange Revolution” ten years ago. Now Russia’s relations with her strategically essential neighbor – Ukraine – are on the brink of rupture, or a painful restructuring for decades to come. Normal US-Russian... Read article

Obama’s Amnesty

November 27, 2014

President Barack Obama’s predecessors have taken executive action on immigration, but no previous president has acted on such grand scale or justified his move by prior executive action instead of a statute. In 1987 and 1990 Reagan and George H.W. Bush were acting with the support of Congress, rather than in defiance of its leaders. They used prosecutorial discretion to shield specific small groups of people from deportation (e.g. young children of recently legalized immigrants) in line with the amnesty law which Congress... Read article

A Frivolous, Open-Ended War

October 12, 2014

There has never been a war in American history so strategically ill-conceived as the one currently developing against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. The Mexican war of 1846-47 was essentially an aggressive operation to take Alta California and New Mexico, and to cement the status of Texas. It was limited in its objectives, and it was conducted in a strategically sound manner. The goals – their legality apart – were achieved, and the balance between costs and benefits was never in doubt. Vae victis! The Civil... Read article

Obama’s “Strategy” And The Ensuing Non-Coalition

September 21, 2014

“French aircraft were due to begin their first reconnaissance flights over Iraq,” France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced on September 15. Britain is already flying reconnaissance missions over Iraq. Several other countries – Arab ones included – say they are willing to support the air campaign. None seem interested in pledging any ground troops, however. “Well, you will hear from Secretary Kerry on this over the coming days. And what he has said is that others have suggested that they’re willing... Read article

A False Flag, Or Fog Of War Over Ukraine?

July 20, 2014

A Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 bound for Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam was shot down in eastern Ukraine Thursday afternoon, killing all 298 passengers and crew. It was hit as it cruised at 33,000 feet above the war-ravaged Donetsk Oblast, 35 miles west from the Russian border. The airliner’s demise has the potential to escalate the Ukrainian crisis to an entirely new level. The White House was quick to imply that the Russians were to blame for the disaster: “While we do not yet have all the facts, we do know that... Read article

Chaos In Iraq

June 14, 2014

Last Tuesday’s sudden capture of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city (population 1.8 million), by a coalition of Sunni forces led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was swiftly followed by the fall of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town. By Thursday morning the insurgents were reported to have advanced to the city of Samarra, only 80 miles north of Baghdad. Their lightning success has thrown the U.S. policy in the region into disarray. It creates a new global flashpoint at a time when the Obama administration... Read article

Obama’s West Point Address

June 2, 2014

President Barack Obama’s commencement address at West Point on May 28 managed to displease pretty much everyone in the nation’s commentariat. Before making an overall assessment of its significance, it is necessary to examine the validity and implications of Obama’s individual statements. “[B]y most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Those who argue otherwise – who suggest that America is in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away – are either misreading... Read article

Modi Ante Portas

May 23, 2014

Two important recent events – Narendra Modi’s landslide victory in India last week and the massive energy and trade agreement which Russia and China signed in Beijing on Wednesday – have the potential to alter Asia’s strategic landscape. Modi is an assertive politician unafraid to take risks, a market-oriented reformer, but also a Hindu nationalist. When asked recently about his approach to foreign affairs, he replied “I believe in Hindutva … And I am confident my Hindutva face will be an asset when dealing... Read article

Ukraine Bosnified, Putin Hitlerized

March 16, 2014

On March 6 President Obama said in Washington that the Crimean authorities’ plans for a referendum “violate the Ukrainian Constitution and violate international law.” “Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine. We are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratically elected leaders,” he added. “Crimea is Ukraine,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in Rome on the same day. Interesting. Six years ago the United States enthusiastically... Read article

Ukraine’s Uncertain Future

March 3, 2014

To understand the ongoing crisis in Ukraine it is necessary to take a look at two maps: the distribution of votes between Viktor Yanukovych (blue) and Yulia Tymoshenko (yellow) in the presidential election of January 2010, and the linguistic divide between the mostly Ukrainian-speaking western and central regions (red, pink) and the predominantly Russian-speaking southern and eastern regions (brown, yellow, beige). These two maps coincide to an astonishing degree. They reflect a fundamental cultural and emotional division,... Read article

Syria: A Predictable Failure

February 4, 2014

U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi wrapped up the first round of the “Geneva II” negotiations last Friday reporting little progress. No ceasefire was agreed, and talks on a transitional government never began. The next round is scheduled for February 10, but its prospects are dim. The opposing sides predictably blame each other for the stalemate, but in any event the talks were doomed to fail. The first reason is John Kerry’s insistence—reasserted on the very first day of the meeting in Montreux, January 22—that... Read article

Paid Hypocrites

January 2, 2014

Most “NGOs” fomenting regime-changes and color-coded revolutions, promoting “pride marches” and similar “human rights issues,” are in reality Western (mostly U.S.) funded conspiracies pursuing the agenda of their paymasters. That much has been known for years, but in recent days we have witnessed a particularly egregious example of their politically-motivated duplicity. On December 17 Egypt’s military-backed government filed additional criminal charges against former president Mohamed Morsi, accusing him of... Read article

Options For Syria

December 18, 2013

Addressing the annual Jamestown Foundation conference of terror experts on December 12, former CIA chief Michael Hayden outlined three possible outcomes of the ongoing conflict in Syria. The first would be further escalation of violence between ever more extreme Sunni and Shiite factions. The second possible outcome—which Hayden described as the most likely but also the most destabilizing for the region—is the dissolution of Syria and the end of a single state within the borders defined by the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement.... Read article

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