12 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. @alfred venison

    I am cautious about Global Research and Chussudovsky. I seem to recall that Chussudovsky supports some sort of false flag conspiracy theory about 9/11. Such a theory is nonsense IMO. Conspiracies do exist but so do blind oversights and over-reactions. Chussudovsky may also be over-hyping the role of neo-nazis in Kiev (although they were there and they did play a part). However, Chussudovsky is not exagerrating IMO when it comes to talking about US, EU and NATO meddling in Ukrainian politics.

    Superpowers always play the game of “strategic creep” when they calculate that they can’t advantageously initiate open war. By “strategic creep” I mean something different from “mission creep” or “strategy creep” the latter two being synonyms. “Mission creep” or “strategy creep” means being tempted to go beyond your intitial plans and thus expand your ambitions. “Strategic creep” means subtle developments by manouvre or deception to achieve a larger, better or more forward strategic position.

    Trying to bring Ukraine under Western influence and progressively into the EU and then NATO is strategic creep. Forward positioning of Western military assets in such a Ukraine would be the culmination that converted strategic creep into a new forward strategic posture. Russia, as a nuclear and conventional superpower cannot tolerate strategic creep near its territory. This is just as President Kennedy and the USA could not tolerate further strategic creep in Cuba during ther Cuban missile crisis. Historically, the USA perhaps provoked that by its own strategic creep or strategic position (missiles) in Turkey at the time.

    Opposing superpowers are not idiots. The Russians are not idiots. The Chinese are not idiots. The West should not seek to treat them like idiots by “creeping” up on them. Arguably, Western destablisation in Iraq, Afghansitan, Syria and now in Ukraine has made the world a much more dangerous place and not just for for Iraqis. Afghans, Syrians and Ukrainians. The West is playing brinkmanship all the time: always pushing to the brink to see what the Russians and Chinese will tolerate. The Russians and Chinese seem a little more circumspect probably because they are on the back foot and somewhat contained.

    The attempt to creep strategically in Ukraine has provoked a reaction that has improved Russia’s position so it has back-fired against the West. Strategically Russia must hold Crimea. It’s a given for all the reasons Chussudovsky mentions. However, holding Crimea might now have involved Russia in mission creep whether they want it not. To hold the Black Sea and the straits they must hold Crimea. However, to hold Crimea militarily they must hold a line along the Dnieper from Kherson to Zaporizhzhya or even to Dnipropetrovsk (with Mariupol and Donetsk in the new hinterland thus formed).

    If Ukraine attempted to block critical supply (gas and water) to Crimea this control would hinge on Kherson as the hub so Russia would be forced to move its ground front to the Dnieper line I mentioned above. Ukraine’s generals know this even if that fool Yatsenyuk does not. His generals appear to be talking some sense to him. See “Ukraine’s defense minister says ‘detente’ with Russia holding”. Blocking critical supply of gas and water to Crimea would intitiate at least a limited ground war on the paramaters outlined above. (If you call up to 80,000 troops on each side limited.)

    The northern flank of this line could not be turned by Ukraine’s army as a second Russian army would strike across the border on the line perhaps of Kharkiv-Sumy. On the other hand, Russia could hold the line Kherson to Dnipropetrovsk and turn that flank from Kharkiv or alternatively drive west to Kiev. I don’t for a moment think Russia would get that aggressive or drive anywhere over the Dnieper except perhaps in the vicinity of Kherson. They know NATO would have to defend Kiev and lands west of the Dnieper. That would “open the door into a dark room”.

    Crimea is somewhat analogous to Kaliningrad (old Konigsberg). Russia needs both for its Navy.

    “The town of Baltiisk, just outside Kaliningrad, is the only Russian Baltic Sea port that is ice-free all year round and the region hence plays an important role in maintenance of the (Russian) Baltic Fleet.

    Due to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Kaliningrad Oblast became an exclave, geographically separated from the rest of Russia. This isolation from the rest of Russia became even more pronounced politically when Poland and Lithuania became members of NATO and subsequently the European Union in 2004. All military and civilian land links between the region and the rest of Russia have to pass through members of NATO and the EU. Special travel arrangements for the territory’s inhabitants have been made through the Facilitated Transit Document (FTD) and Facilitated Rail Transit Document (FRTD).” – Wikipedia.

    I think Russia regards both Kaliningrad and Crimea as non-negotiable. A Western blockade of Kaliningrad would be a doomed idea. It would force Russia to retake Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

  2. @Ikonoclast

    lets just hope neo-con military intelligence sees it like you do about kaliningrad & the baltic dominos. i don’t know about chussudovsky & 9/11, i was reading him for what he says about geography & river transport networks. for what he said re how prior to the referendum the russians tipped their hand by creating a subsidiary, within their pertinent state enterprise, to oversee building the joint ukraine-russia kerch bridge project by russian means alone.

    as for the present kiev provisional gov’t, chussudovsky & global research are not over egging, this is not an overwrought metaphor, the eu (for now) classifies the ukraine svoboda party as fascist. six of the 21 person ukrainian cabinet are fascists by membership, or fascists by personal history. they are oleksandr sych, (deputy p.m.) oleh makhnitskyy (state prosecutor) andriy mokhnyk (ecology) ihor shvaika (agriculture) tetyana chornovol (anti-corruption) andriy parubiy (national security council).

    oleh tiahnybok is head of svoboda. tiahnybok’s the guy mccain clambered on stage to shake hands with, tiahnybok’s the guy nuland said to pyatt “yats” should meet with 4 times a week. svoboda is working on its image/classification and has to this end withdrawn from the alliance of european national movements. last week tiahnybok met with the u.s. state department coordinator for international energy affairs, carlos pascual – among other things, they would have discussed is the svoboda party’s hugely successful electoral strategy of organising popular opposition to csg extraction throughout its western ukraine heartland.

    the far right inlcuding una-unso, swoboda & right flank were certainly there at the demonstrations. evidence indicates right sector & swobada officials may be implicated in deaths by sniper at maidan. the right sector head, dmytro yarosh, is no longer in contention for a cabinet position, he is instead running for president and right sector, which once got mileage accusing svoboda of backsliding compromise, is reorganising as a political party.

    you may have seen the recent video of the ukrainian state national t.v. head being roughed up & forced to sign write a resignation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQsk4zf4gsE – these were svoboda thugs & a svoboda member of parliament. yatseniuk says they will be investigated – investigated, that is, by the office of the chief prosecutor who is a svodoba member, the prosecutor who’s office will be entrusted with investigating allegations of fascist snipers at maidan. i have no doubt that fascists in the ministry gives license to fascists on the street. -a.v.

  3. Notwithstanding any detractors, Bronwyn Bishop must rate as the “best” Speaker ever. I remember it was said that Australian speakers were always partisan, and did not follow the House of Commons model. Despite this tradition, a degree of fairness and an attempt to represent the rights of all members would something that might be desired. Maybe, Madame Speaker might ask MHR’s to fill in a questionnaire on her performance. The contrast with the dreaded “hung” House of Reps is quite marked,

  4. @Paul Norton
    Gee, Paul, I thought we had a boatload of farmers growing the green stuff. maybe they don’t meat Mr Christensens standards of real Australian?

  5. Prof. Quiggin

    You have previously said:

    Can full employment be restored?… I have argued that a return to full employment (conservatively define to mean an unemployment rate of 3 per cent) is both feasible and desirable. The central thrust of our argument is that unemployment is ultimately … the result of constraints on public expenditure…

    Do you still believe that full employment (conservatively defined to mean an unemployment rate of 3 per cent) is feasible and desirable?

    Thank you for your time.

    Kind regards,


  6. “We’re relatively close to full employment or close to full employment by the standard of the past 30 years,” John Quiggin said on RT.

    So I can assume the short answer to my above question is NO.

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