Friday, February 21, 2014

What 's Really Going On In The Ukraine

The Ukraine is in the news as violent protests shake the country.What's going on, and why is it important? Here's what you really need to know, as opposed to a lot of what you may be hearing.

Russia and the Ukraine have a history that goes back centuries, and it's pretty much all bad. Like Poland and the Baltic countries, the Ukraine marks the borderline between the Russian culture and western European culture, and to an extent the borderline between Catholicism and Othrodox Christianity, although the Ukraine is mixed in this regard.

Poland, the Ukraine and Lithuania in the Baltic Sea area were all once world powers, and a Polish/Lithuanian alliance actually invaded and took over Russia in the early 17th century. The Russians never forgot it.

The three countries made several attempts over the years to unite as one kingdom, which would have substantially changed the history of Europe and guaranteed their independence, but the underlying suspicions between the three, language and cultural differences and the inherent difficulties in how Poland's Sejm (a gathering of powerful nobles that was one of the first parliaments in Europe) was set up to make real consensus difficult all contributed to the failure of those attempts, and gradually all of these countries wound up under Russia's thumb.

After a brief period of independence after the Russian Revolution, the Ukraine again became part of the Russian Empire in 1919, this time a Soviet one.

The Soviets treated the Ukraine as a colony and essentially plundered it. They severely repressed the Ukraine's language, religion and culture and instituted forced collective farming, and when the Ukrainians were rebellious and continued to resist, Stalin literally seized every bit of food inside the Ukraine including the livestock and seed grain, removed it, sealed the borders and left the population to starve. Anywhere from three to seven million people were starved to death in an atrocity known as the Holodomor.

When the Nazis invaded, for the most part the Ukrainians were avid collaborators, partly because they understandably hated the Russians and saw Hitler's troops as liberators and partly because many Ukrainians shared their ideas about Jews. For all the Ukrainian rhetoric through the years about freedom and human dignity, historically some of the worst and most brutal pogroms against Jews were in the Ukraine. Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, who is still a national hero in the Ukraine destroyed over 300 Jewish communities in the country. And in the early 20th century, vicious pogroms in the Ukraine and elsewhere in Russia were an impetus both for Jewish emigration to America and to Palestine.There are indications even today that not much has changed when it comes to Jews for a number of Ukrainians.

Many Ukrainians fought for Hitler in his SS against the Russians, and they were among the perpetrators of something that occurred at a place in the Ukraine called Babi Yar, a ravine outside Kiev where literally thousands of Jewish men, women and children were machine gunned to death, with the assistance and cooperation of the Ukrainians who participated in the carnage while people from the surrounding area watched, brought picnic lunches and applauded.

Needless to say, when the Red Army retook the area, the Ukrainians were not exactly very high in their esteem, and Soviet policy towards the Ukraine again returned to treating it as a colony and as a vital border area that needed to be held to prevent Russia from being invaded by outside forces again.The Ukrainian SSR was also turned into a major Soviet military outpost and arms manufacturing center in the cold war, and was home to a number of important and strategic military bases. packed with the best weapons systems the Soviets could make.

When the Soviet Empire crashed and burned, the Ukraine went their own way and declared their independence in 1991,but the country still maintained close ties to Russia and remained under Russian influence out of economic necessity.

The first real move towards independence from Russia occurred in 1994, when a rigged election and the subsequent outrage and unrest led to Victor Yushchenko becoming president,who favored closer ties to Europe and EU membership. This strained relations with the Russians (who actually tried to poison Yushchenko to stop him), and led to Russia attempting to blackmail the Ukraine by shutting off natural gas supplies to both the Ukraine and the EU, a must for heating due to the climate.

That ended up finally being settled more or less amicably, but due to political infighting a pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was elected in 2010, allegedly with covert Russian assistance. Yanukovych turned the Ukraine's focus back towards Russia, arresting politicians who favored closer alliance with the west and in November of 2013, refusing to sign the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement.

I recount this brief history in order to give you a bit of necessary background so that you understand the dynamics of what's happening now.

Yanukovych's failure to bring the Ukraine into the EU sparked massive protests, which have come to a head now. The majority of the Ukrainian people do not want to be a client state of Russia, and want EU membership.

The Russians, on the other hand, see a Europeanized Ukraine as a threat to their security, which is why Russian leader Vladimir Putin is so exercised about it. His carrot-and-stick performance includes the offer of a badly needed $15 billion aid package if the Ukraine stays out of the EU, and the threat of once again shutting off the gas in the middle of the European winter if the Ukrainians toss out Yanukovych and join the EU.

Yanukovych made a major error with a particularly brutal response to the protests, which involved a number of deaths and included snipers picking off people in the crowds. Many of Yanukovych's police refused to be a part of this and actually joined the protesters, or at least turned over their arms and equipment.

Yanukovych was forced to make a deal with the leaders of the opposition today, which commits him to early elections and reduces his presidential authority, along with granting amnesty to all protesters and firing the minister of the interior, who ordered the brutal response to the protesters and was a major security tool of Yanukovych.

Significantly, it also mandated the release of opposition politician and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who has been imprisoned for more than two years, and could very well be the next Ukrainian leader.

Simply put, those are the issues.

The Russians understandably want the Ukraine as a secure border area and checkpoint. While the Russians participated in today's negotiations along with EU diplomats that were designed to calm things down and forestall more bloodshed, the Russians are not endorsing the deal and Putin is almost certainly willing to go to some lengths to retain the Ukraine in Russia's sphere of influence. That might include 'influencing' the next elections,or literally just about anything.

The Ukrainian opposition understandably want to join the EU and obtain a divorce from Russia, and while they were apparently willing to fight for the privilege, it remains an open question of how far the EU is willing to go to support them.

President Obama has essentially been AWOL on the issue.

And that's where things stand. While I agree with erring on the side of freedom, it's vitally important not to get taken in by rhetoric and look at the whole picture when figuring out how to proceed, where our best interests lie and what to do about it.

This, after all, is essentially an ethnic conflict that has been going on for centuries.


louielouie said...

while reading ff essay, i couldn't help but think, what right thinking person would want to join the EU?
besides anon, of course.
the ukraine should be it's own sphere of influence.
let the EU and putin fight over it, and the ukraine watch.
one of the minor details i always thought about chernobyl, was, the russian delay in announcing/responding to the actual meltdown event. why bother? it's in the urkraine. ok, it's on the border with belarus, which still begs the question from the russian perspective, why bother? the town i think is only about 100 miles north of kiev. you know good and well the rooskies aren't going to build a nuke outside moscow. LOL

Anonymous said...

ukranians want to switch tyrrannies or just invade Western Europe and suck it dry like gypsies, muslims, poles, bulgarians, have already done.

B.Poster said...

Overall very good analysis of this. I think this read in conjunction with other analysis of this situation should provide an excellent primer on this and should give us an idea how to proceed.

Essentially you've done a great job providing an analysis of the history of this situation. Several articles at (available by paid subscription)seem to have done a good job pointing out the flaws in the government forces. Other articles at seem to a good job pointing out the flaws of the opposition. It would seems we are dealing with mostly genuinely bad actors on all sides of this. Additionally, your analysis of the history of this region would seem to confirm that none of these people are good people, certainly not "freedom fighters" we should be getting behind and definitely NOT worth the risk of a conflict with Russia.

"President Obama has essentially been AWOL on the issue." How so? Some reports have indicated that rebel forces are being trained in the US embassy and the US ambassador has been seen lending active support to the rebels. Even if he has been "AWOL" what would you have him do? POTUS Can NOT weigh in on every issue. It would seem he has enough to worry about with the US economy, upgrading the US military assuming he even realizes how serious this problem is, and getting the flaws within ACA fixed just to name three issues to have much in the way of time or resources to weigh in on some faraway ethnic conflict that has been going on for centuries as you correctly point out.

The last two paragraphs are definitely spot on I believe and are very wise and prudent. Unfortunately wisdom and prudence are in short supply within the US government these days. They would do well to heed your council but I'm not holding my breath.

This is definitely not something we need to be involved in. It risks war with Russia and undermines our own liberty. Ultimately we can only guarantee our own liberty.

Also, American military capability has eroded considerably since the US government decided the Cold War was over and since the beginning of the 21st century. In contrast, Russian military capabilities have been substantially increased. As such, war with Russia is unwinnable for us right now and is unlikely to be winnable for us within the next few decades assuming our country survives that long. This in addition to the fact that we are dealing with bad actors on all sides of an ethnic conflict that has been going on for centuries is ample reason not to get involved. Getting involved in unwinnable wars is something that one should make every effort to avoid.

"...The majority of the Ukrainian people do not want to be a client state of Russia and want EU membership..." Proof please? I think it at least equally likely that a majority want closer ties with Russia. Why would they want to be part of an entity like the EU that's not likely to be around in a few years? An even better question is why does the EU want Ukraine as a member given the nature of both the opposition and the government and why would they want to risk a conflict with Russia their major gas supplier over this? Stupid is a stupid does as someone once said.

B.Poster said...

A part of the history of this conflict that seems very interesting that I think has much relevance today is that Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania tried to form a united kingdom. It does seem reasonable that had they succeeded history may have been different.

Unfortunately a united kingdom between radically different cultures with nations who have radically different needs and interests had no chance of ever succeeding. A better approach may have been something far less grandiose, something that has precedence of some success in our time. Perhaps a military alliance of some sort would have been better. Furthermore this military alliance would need to be limited in scope, such as acting as a deterrent against a common threat such as Russia.

NATO was founded on a similar type of situation and was initially limited to containing the Soviet Union and threats and potential threats in the "North Atlantic" region. This type of arrangement had some success in containing the Soviet Union. (Not so much help in containing Russia today as the nations of Western Europe view America as a strategic competitor and a greater threat than Russia.)

This leads to the colossally stupid idea of the EU and a "United States of Europe" that is being pushed by certain world leaders. The EU is a flawed concept that cannot last without much war and bloodshed as powerful men and women try hold it together. Also, a USA of Europe is impossible as the nations are to culturally diverse and have radically differing needs and interest for such a union to be viable. Attempts to forge this type of union can only lead one way and that is to disaster. Today's leaders could learn much from the examples of Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania from history.

It should be pointed out that even a United States of the North American continent as currently exists is problematic at best that it will last much longer. It faces serious economic challenges, infrastructure problems, and is being opposed by all of the world's great powers. Who really even wants to duplicate this model?

I'm going to ask some questions in another thread regarding current US/Russian relations that may be off topic but perhaps you can help provide some insight on this.

B.Poster said...

As stated in the previous post, I have some questions that perhaps you can help to clarify.

1.)The conventional wisdom is when the Cold War ended as part of the agreement to end the conflict the United States agreed not to expand militarily into post Soviet nations or former Easter Bloc countries. With the expansion of NATO into places like Poland and other former Soviet/Eastern Bloc nations the US is in violation of this agreement. As such, Russia has every right to be upset and to "take it to" America since they are the aggrieved party in this. Is this correct, not correct, or is the conventional analysis of this oversimplified. Any information you could provide on this would be much appreciated.

2.)Iran poses a far greater threat to America than Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan ever did or ever could have at that this time. Unfortunately as long as they enjoy the support of Russia and China and the nations of the EU view us a strategic competitor nothing of substance can be done here. Would there be any possibility of some type of agreement whereby we agree to withdraw all support of former Soviet/Eastern Bloc countries which would essentially allow Russia free reign in this region. (It isn't like we can stop them anyway and even if we could the cost in terms of lives lost and economic damage to America would make such an attempt unwise.) In exchange for this, they withdraw all support from Iran. This would make Iran easier for us to deal with. Of course there is the problem of ensuring Russia follows through on the agreement. Since America faces intense media scrutiny that is often hostile, there seems to be no possibility of America not honoring its portion of the agreement. A similar agreement would need to be reached with China with regards to Iran. Perhaps in exchange for withdrawing support from Iran we recognize the reality that China is the dominant power in the Pacific and pull back from the foolish "pivot" to that region. Again, there is the problem of ensuring Chinese compliance. Is such a framework for agreements in area even possible in your opinion?

Elise Ronan said...

Honestly I don't think either side would be what we like to say "is good for the Jews," but in the end if it stops Putin's march to recreating the Russian empire then it is good for the world, at least until we can elect a POTUS who doesn't support the evil people of the world.

B.Poster said...

For what it's worth, I think the likely end to this conflict is after the Olympics are over Russia initiates a major crackdown on the opposition. Then it's bye-bye opposition. If American military leaders are smart, they could watch and learn.

Rob said...


1) There was no 'agreement' after the fall of the Soviet Empire not to extend into the areas that became independent,i.e Poland, Hungary, etc. They had mostly overthrown their puppet governments and approached NATO and the Eu on their own.In fact, Russia had no power over anything at that point and was actually dependent on U.S. aid to keep from becoming a failed state.We missed a huge opportunity there.

2) If you really think Iran is a bigger threat to the US than Hitler or the Japanese were cica 1941, there's not much I can say. Iran is only a threat because we allow it to be.

3)We have no right or ability to consign Eastern Europe to the tender mercies of the Russians in some bizarre 'trade', and even if we did,it's a stupid and immoral idea IMO. Why toss away allies? That's an Obama specialty. I would hope we would have learned something from Yalta and the last time we did it, when we also thought we were making a deal with Stalin. A mere mention after VE Day of what happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have sent the Red Army packing back to the Russian border. Truman was simply too weak to go against FDR advisers still in place from FDR like Alger Hiss, a Soviet spy.

Again, Iran is only a threat because we allow it to be one. Robert Gates, for instance,revealed in his latest book that it was he and Condi Rice who talked Bush '43 into not giving Israel the tools to finish off Iran's nuclear facilities for us,when it would have been far easier.Dick Cheney was on the other side of that argument, but unfortunately he lost.

4) If the U.S. wanted to keep the Russians out of the Ukraine and let them become a western oriented democracy, all we would have to do is make that very plain to Putin. He would still try and subvert the new government, but he wouldn't invade.

B.Poster said...

Thank you for the additional insights on this.

1.)The conventional wisdom is there was an agreement of this sort and the US is in violation of this. The real world is likely much more complicated than the standard narrative. As long as this narrative is essentially almost universally accepted, it's going to be extremely difficult for us to get the kind of support we'd need. The narrative needs to be addressed and changed.

2.)Iran is a bigger threat than the enemies of WWII, in fact many times so. It's a different threat and we are different today than the country was then. As such, the strategies to defeat this enemy will be different than those used to win WWII. "Iran is only a threat because we allow it to be." The sentence would be more accurate if changed to read, "America is only a threat because Iran allows it to be." (The Iranian leadership needs a boogey man and America serves the role quite nicely. It simply does not support their situation to eliminate that "threat" right now.)

3.) The former Soviet/Eastern Bloc nations are NOT our friends. Anon had it about right in the reply to your post. They're simply using us. I still have not forgotten the condescending manner in with Prime Minister Tusk addressed President Bush in a joint press conference. While I'm not really keen on the idea I suggested, it does pose an intriguing possibility that might be worth exploring at some point. Besides if the conventional narrative on this is correct, a withdraw of NATO/US forces from this area would have a calming effect as Russia would be more secure. As such, our "allies" would be more secure not less. Continuing to have forces here only undermines our own liberty. Besides our founding fathers warned us against these types of entangling alliances.

Assuming we actually have the "tools" to take out the Iranian nuclear program there are some logistical problems. Iran and their allies are not just going to stand around while we transport this to Israel and the "tools" are integrated into the Israeli military. Iranian agents in the US government would almost certainly warn the Iranian leadership about the impending attack on the nuclear program. The Iranian retaliation would kill at least millions of Americans and very likely 10s of millions of Americans. If I'm aware of this, then it is certain that Mr. Gates and Ms. Rice were. While I'm NOT saying I agree with their decision making processes, I can understand why they wanted to be cautious.

The best approach to this is for America to get completely out of Israel's way while they take care of this joint problem. Israel working alone or with a Gulf Arab state partnership for this purpose has a better chance of succeeding. It has an element of surprise that an American involvement would not have. If handled properly, the threat can be eliminated before Iran has a chance to respond. With us involved, there's no chance of that happening. Besides American forces lack the leadership or the training to be able to carry out that type of mission. I've been praying and cajoling that the Israelis would take care of this since 2008. I wish they'd get on with it but not being an Israeli neither I nor any American are in a position to set Israeli policies.

B.Poster said...

4.) The Russians nor anyone else are going to do something simply because the US "makes it very plain" or whatever. Russia holds the cards here. Russia can a.)send in it's military forces to install whatever government it chooses, b.)subvert the new government in order to bring about a new one more to his liking, or c.)cut off gas supplies to Ukraine and/or Western Europe if he feels he is not getting what he wants or getting what he wants at a time table to his liking. Any attempt to "make that very plain" would only, at best, lead to further humiliation for us and possibly something even worse.

When one's adversary holds the cards, it is unwise to commit money or resources to a losing cause. Unwinnable conflicts/wars should be avoided if at all possible. Fighting unwinnable conflicts that don't serve a national interest and in fact undermine national interests is even more stupid.

Rob said...

Hi Poster.
1) I don't care about 'conventional wisdom', or disinformation. There was no formal agreement whatsoever,period, there should not have been, and without US aid Russia would have collapsed as a state.

2) If you think a third world country with no appreciable air force or navy is the equivalent of what Germany and Japan had in 1941 or what the U.S. military today can deliver with a couple of fingers on one hand, you're certainly entitled.

As to the 'tools' remember that Gates was speaking about conditions in 2006-7, which were far different. What Gates and Rice were concerned with was an Iranian ground attack on U.S. forces, but an Iranian attack head on into U.S firepower would simply have resulted in a lot of halal bar-b-cued jihadis, especially if we had taken out their gasoline refineries, meaning that the IRG would mostly have had to walk to battle.

What would have been more probable was attempt at covert terrorism, but a clear message to Iran that they would be held responsible for any such incidents and suffer the consequences of having a 'nation' that mostly consisted of radioactive slag would have made them quite cautious about trying to pull that off.

If Gates and Condi had kept their traps shut, we wouldn't have a problem with a nuclear Iran today. And a strike then would have been even more effective if we had done it ourselves instead of Israel.Even today, the Russians don't have any control over what we ship or to whom.Nor does Iran have any ability TODAY to retaliate for a strike by either Israel or the US, although they're certainly working on it.

3) Finally, if you think Putin would actually risk all out war with America over the Ukraine if we sent him a clear message to butt out or risk the consequences, you're mistaken.

And BTW, your representation that former Soviet/Eastern Bloc nations are not our allies is seriously flawed. Both the Poles and Ukrainians sent combat troops to Iraq,which is more than a lot of NATO countries did. And as for Bush's reception by Tusk, W had it coming because he had been blowing hot and cold on putting up those missile defense bases after the Poles and Czechs had taken a security risk by agreeing to have them there. Obama treated them even worse,because he and Hillary were playing games with that Russian 'reset'.

To have allies, you have to behave like an ally.

B.Poster said...

1.) Information is a very important part of any conflict. If I might impose on your patience a bit and use an analogy, when it comes to getting out a narrative and propagating it, the Russians are a bit like master figure skaters whereas the US has barely learned how to skate. In order to get the kind of support we need, we are going to need to do a better job in this area. The fact is a majority of Europeans and probably most Americans by now believe their was an agreement and we are in violation of it thus giving Russia every right and even obligation to do what they do. Besides if Russia collapses as a state that formidable nuclear and conventional military arsenal gets released against us. Truly a bad situation indeed.

2.)Iran would use terrorist attacks on the US mainland that would probably involve the use of at least "dirty bombs" and very likely suitcase nuclear weapons. Millions of Americans and very likely 10s of millions of Americans would die in this war. Furthermore we would be dealing with Russia, China, and today very likely the BRICS as well. Iran would be well defended and very difficult to deliver a counter attack to. What I propose above has a much better chance of working.

Also, Russian intelligence services are telling them exactly what we are shipping, when, and to whom. Easy for one of their nuclear subs to take out. It seems problematic at best that we are going to be able to the cargo in place and even more problematic that Iran's allies are going to stand around while we integrate this into Israel's military.

B.Poster said...

3.) If the sentence is changed to read as follows: "Finally, if you think Obama would actually risk all out war with Russia over Ukraine if we sent him a clear message to butt out or risk the consequences, you're mistaken", it would be far more accurate. Unfortunately Obama may just be that stupid and he's got Republican leaders to egg him on in this regard.

While it is true that Poland and Ukraine sent combat troops to Iraq, they had ulterior motives. They hope to extract something from us. From the beginning the Iraq war was a.)a hare-brained scheme, b.)a poorly executed operation of which the men charged with carrying it out had no business managing the simplest of operations let alone something as complex as "Operation Iraqi Freedom" or c.) a combination of a and b. Most likely the answer is c.

I recognized from the beginning that this was a bad idea that the men in charge of executing were in no way capable of pulling it off but unfortunately I was infected with "Bush-worship" for lack of a better name for it and my judgment was overridden. I will NEVER make that mistake again. Worship is for G_d alone.

If I recognized the flaws, then there is no doubt others did as well. This is likely part of the reason other "allies" wisely back away. As for Ukraine and Poland, they hoped to extract something from us for their support and were perfectly willing to sacrifice some of their own in this endeavor in order to get these things. Truly despicable on their part.

As for missile defense, the system that was being proposed was not designed with Russia in mind. It was designed for a limited attack from nations such as Iran or North Korea. It would have been completely inadequate for dealing with a nuclear attack or any type of attack from Russia. To use this system against Russia would have been a bit like using a leather shield to try and stop a tank.

Furthermore the proposal of such a system was serving to antagonize Russia. Since it had no chance of thwarting Russia and was antagonizing them, a majority of Czechs and Poles opposed the system and likely still do.

In the case of Mr. Tusk, it appears he wanted someone to "modernize" Poland's military and likely among other things. Had the reporters in the press conference done their homework and been alert especially those from America they might have asked him just who "modernizes" America's military.

"To have allies, you have to behave like an ally." I could not agree more. On this, I think we are in total agreement. Typically, it seems we have thrown allot of money at people and nations to try and get them to do what we want then when the going gets a little tough we cut em loose. This is NOT a good way to build friendships. At this point, the US dollar is not worth what it used to be and at this point it is not a matter of "if" but "when" will the dollar lose it's role as world reserve currency. Given this situation, we are clearly going to have to rethink how we conduct foreign policy.

Rob said...

"The fact is a majority of Europeans and probably most Americans by now believe their was an agreement and we are in violation of it."

So what? The 'conventional wisdom' in a lot of the Muslim world is that Jews are the spawn of Satan and use the blood of gentile children to make Passover matzoh. So far, I haven't seen anyone talk about this mythical agreement but you.

Iran has no 'dirty bombs' at present, and is not nearly well defended enough to withstand a US attack, althiough I admit they're good at sounding threatening. And prove to me that Russia and China would get into a war over Iran. Their sole interest in in the oil. Take out the ports and the oilfields and they'd find other things to be interested in. That especially applies to China.

"Russian intelligence services are telling them exactly what we are shipping, when, and to whom. Easy for one of their nuclear subs to take out. "

How do you know? And since when does Iran have 'nuclear subs'? The best they can muster at this point is 3 upgraded Russian SSK Kilo attack submarines that do not have nuclear capability even if Iran had nukes and a delivery system and some home grown Ghadir and Nahang class mini submarines.

As for Poland and the Ukraine, of COURSE they had self-directed motives. What country doesn't? Nations have interests, not friends. But when nations like Germany made a point of not sending any troops into combat and no troops at all in the critical south and east, the Poles and Ukrainians did - and I think they were treated fairly shabbily for it, thank you.

Why wouldn't Tusk want to upgrade his military by purchasing US arms? Are you aware of the history between Poland and Russia? The Poles would be silly not to.

I'm trying to be friendly here, I really am and I apologize for the strident tone. But really...

B.Poster said...

The "mythical agreement" has been mentioned in a number of news sources. I'm surprised you are not aware of it. Since to the best of my knowledge no one has actual produced the actual text of the agreement, I'm actually inclined to believe the agreement did not really exist.

According to some sources when it came time to negotiate with the Soviets Reagan abandoned much of his rhetoric and negotiated with the Soviets in good faith as equals. In any event, it does not matter since much of Europe and the Russians appear to believe this. Also, most Americans are well aware of this as well. Again, I'm surprised you are not.

For what it's worth Israel does a poor job of getting their message out as well. Fortunately for them the Muslim argument is so ridiculous that no one outside of the Muslim world actually takes it seriously. Nevertheless this is a BIG problem when 600+ million people hate you. This will need to be dealt with. How to do so I'm not sure. For that matter, I'm not sure how to deal with America's situation. Unfortunately for us the message against us is actually believed by most of the world.

As for the nuclear subs I meant Russian nuclear subs. From how the sentence was structured, I can understand how that was misunderstood. I apologize for the confusion.

Actually the Russians and the Chinese are going to vigorously defend the ports and the oilfields and will be quite p!ssed if someone tried to take them out. According to some reports the Chinese are itching for a fight and it seems the Russians are as well. In the case of China, it would seem best not pick a fight with the nation we depend upon, at present, for much of our manufactured goods. In the case of Russia, it seems best not to pick a fight with the nation who has the largest and most advanced nuclear arsenal on earth as well as the world's top intelligence services.

I couldn't agree more that all nations have "self directed" motives and interests not friends. If the US made an agreement to upgrade Poland's military, then this was exceedingly stupid on our part. It's always a bad idea to make promises that one can't keep. Actually an objective look at America's situation would have made this obvious to the Poles that such an agreement was untenable. Any arms the US can manufacture will be needed for America for the foreseeable future. Kind of begs the question of whose dumber the Americans or the Poles. In this case, I'd say there is plenty of dumbness to go around but the dumber party is the Poles. Perhaps they were blinded by greed and ideology.

"I'm trying to be friendly here, I really am and I apologize for the strident tone. But really..." I appreciate you being friendly.:-) I'm trying to be as well and appreciate the dialogue. I learn a great deal from reading your posts, commenting on them, and getting your responses. Please continue with the excellent work.