Streetwise Professor

February 12, 2015

Merkel and Hollande: Insane. Putin: Very Sane. Poroshenko: Sane and Screwed.

Filed under: Military,Politics — The Professor @ 9:39 pm

Einstein famously defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

By that definition, there were two insane participants in the “negotiations”over the war in Ukraine held in Minsk, and two sane ones.

The insane ones were the Euro “leaders”, Merkel and Hollande. They went to Minsk to negotiate a new deal with the man who flagrant violated the last deal then lied shamelessly about it, apparently in the hope that he’ll adhere to a new deal. Only the insane would expect that.

The man on the other side of the round table, Putin, is clearly not insane. He did the same thing as he did last time, but very much expected the same result. And he got it. That’s not quite true: he got a better deal this time.

Ukrainian president Poroshenko clearly went into the meetings with no illusions. He could see that Putin was implacable, and that his erstwhile benefactors were intent on playing the roles of Chamberlain and Daladier in a reprise of Munich!, and that he was cast in the role of Eduard Benes, watching his capitulation being negotiated over his head.  He gamely dragged things out, but in reality it was three against one, and that one was in dire straits with a crumbling economy and a desperate military situation. He did the same thing he did in September, out of necessity, but I am sure he expects the same outcome.

The cease fire does not begin until Sunday, and therefore it is inevitable that there will be a flurry of fighting in the next days, especially around Debaltselvo. Putin made it plain today that he expects the 8000 or so Ukrainian soldiers in the pocket to surrender. The implicit threat is that they will be crushed if they do not.

Even if a cease fire takes hold after Sunday, it will not last. Putin has learned that violations have no adverse consequence, and that after some interval the fighting will start again and he will take another slice of Ukraine. And Merkel and Hollande will harrumph and express grave concern but when push comes to shove they will scurry back to Minsk to do it all over again. Insane.

Wash, rinse, repeat. The low, dishonest decade grinds on.

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24 Comments »

  1. This whole episode makes me angry. I really don’t know whether it’s ineptitude, or outright duplicity on the part of Merkel and Hollande to insist that a diplomatic solution is still possible? Why cant most westerners see the forest for the trees, when Putin’s ultimate target is the west itself? Are the Western European willing to sacrifice the secuirty of their Eastern counterparts, for the sake of reviving economic ties with Russia?

    Comment by Guy Montag — February 13, 2015 @ 1:54 am

  2. > Are the Western European willing to sacrifice the secuirty of their Eastern counterparts, for the sake of reviving economic ties with Russia?

    Surely, that was a rhetorical question? Most of them have not been performing on their military spending obligations under NATO, not even in 2014, so you can tell just how grown-up they are about their own security, let alone that of the front-line states.

    Comment by Ivan — February 13, 2015 @ 2:57 am

  3. Yes as a matter of fact that was indeed a rhetorical question, Ivan. I was thinking of one of the founding fathers of the US Benjamin Franklin when he said “those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither” while typing that comment. If any of the European leaders think that they’ll gain any semblance of peace out of this Minsk deal, then they’re in for a rude shock.

    Comment by Guy Montag — February 13, 2015 @ 4:07 am

  4. “Surely, that was a rhetorical question? Most of them have not been performing on their military spending obligations under NATO, not even in 2014, so you can tell just how grown-up they are about their own security, let alone that of the front-line states.”

    Again, the Russian gvt has escalation dominance here. And the Ukrainian Army is worse off than the Russian Army was when it tried to storm Grozny for the first time. These are the fundamental facts. The most of the blame for this lies on the oligarchs who dominated Ukrainian governments of the past decade or so for not making something worthwhile of their army, preferring to fight amongst themselves. The rest of it lies on the present government for assigning the army it commands objectives its wreck of an army has no hope of achieving. The only way to fix that now is with NATO troops on the front line.

    The Ukrainian government and its Western supporters should have faced facts and thought this through a year ago. They didn’t, and now a lot of Ukrainians are dead. Continuing to ignore facts, as is proposed here, won’t help.

    Comment by PailiP — February 13, 2015 @ 4:44 am

  5. +++The Ukrainian government and its Western supporters should have faced facts and thought this through a year ago ++++

    I am sorry, but why is that. I am sure you are not implying that Russia has any right for anything outside of its own borders, are you? I mean, whatever was happening within Ukraine is not Russia’s concern, right?

    Comment by LL — February 13, 2015 @ 5:43 am

  6. Look LL, what you don’t get is that I accept your analysis of Putin, Russia, the whole nine yards. And while she was SecState, Hiliary believed that Putin was a dictator who maintained power by massive electoral fraud and whose policy was all about rebuilding the USSR. And Victoria Nuland, and her husband Kagan did too. So did John McCain.

    Given all this, why can’t people here get their heads around the idea that sending a wreck of a Ukrainian army into Eastern Ukraine was a really bad idea, because it committed that army to a war it was gonna lose badly?

    Comment by PailiP — February 13, 2015 @ 6:38 am

  7. > why can’t people here get their heads around the idea that sending a wreck of a Ukrainian army into Eastern Ukraine was a really bad idea

    For the obvious reason that it was not. If Ukraine had not resisted the advancing Russian hordes, the only difference now would be that a much larger part of Ukraine would be under Russian occupation. Given all this, why can’t the Western politicians get their heads around the idea that it is much more preferable to stop Putin in Donbas than it is to try to stop him on the Elbe? There simply is no non-military solution to this conflict, the only question is whether Putin is allowed to define it.

    Comment by Ivan — February 13, 2015 @ 1:52 pm

  8. “For the obvious reason that it was not. If Ukraine had not resisted the advancing Russian hordes…”

    What advancing hordes? All the Ukrainian Army met at first was people like them chewing them out and saying ‘What are you doing here?’ Avakov said on 9 April that it all would be sorted out in 48 hours. No ‘advancing hordes’ anywhere.

    Here’s the Kyiv Post, 16 April 2014, on the reception Ukrainian forces got in Kramatorsk:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/multimedia/photo/ukrainian-army-gets-hostile-reception-in-donetsk-oblast-on-april-16-343886.html

    “SLOVIANSK, Ukraine — When the Ukrainian army entered Donetsk Oblast, gripped by Kremlin-backed separatist protests, civilians gave them a hostile reception.

    The citizens of Kramatorsk, a city of 250,000 people, were outraged when several groups of Ukrainian paratroopers entered the city’s suburbs on armored vehicles on the morning of April 16.

    Confident that the army arrived to violently suppress the protesters, the civilians blocked some 18 vehicles with soldiers in two locations near Kramatorsk.

    Six more vehicles were captured by armed insurgents in Kramatorsk and taken to Sloviansk, a city some 15 kilometers away, where the pro-Russian insurgents have been holding administrative buildings since April 12.

    Dmitriy Di, a spokesman for the insurgents’ People’s Guard of Donbas, said the vehicles will be used “at least for blocking streets.”

    According to Di, a dozen Ukrainian soldiers who rode in the captured vehicles surrendered and took the insurgents’ side. However, the insurgents kept the soldiers in the seized city hall and refused to let anyone see them or talk to them.”

    No ‘advancing hordes’ in sight…

    So clearly, Ivan, you don’t let anything like actual facts get in the way of spinning your narrative.

    Comment by PailiP — February 13, 2015 @ 3:13 pm

  9. “What advancing hordes?”…LOL…by April 16 Crimea was already occupied and annexed by Russia.

    Comment by Dixi — February 13, 2015 @ 3:57 pm

  10. Sure. And they were standing still. No advancing, least of all on Donetsk. So again, standing hordes on Crimea, not advancing at all. So moving Ukrainian troops into Eastern Ukraine was not in response to any ‘hordes’ advancing on Eastern Ukraine.

    Comment by PailiP — February 13, 2015 @ 5:02 pm

  11. > Here’s the Kyiv Post, 16 April 2014
    > The citizens of Kramatorsk…

    Oh my, you are not actually trying to bs us about a “popular uprising” here, are you? Because there are, you know, actual facts getting in the way of spinning your narrative.

    Like a well-known video documenting Russian “green men” capturing police station in that same Kramatorks, using give-away “citizen of Kramatorks” language:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C55K3D_u4M

    and this investigation identifying the particular Russian special ops unit from St. Petersburg whose (former) members did it:

    http://ipress.ua/ru/ljlive/kto_zahvatival_kramatorsk_spetsnaz_porebryk__foto_60976.html

    So clearly Ukraine government should have just watched idly, or maybe politely assisted the Russian military administration with moving in. Seriously, we’ve had funnier Kremlin trolls here, you may just as well crawl back to your lair.

    Comment by Ivan — February 13, 2015 @ 6:18 pm

  12. Ivan, the photo and video themselves show that they are nothing like the “Green Men’ in Crimea, in either appearance, equipment, or bearing.

    And still no ‘hordes’

    Try again.

    Comment by PailiP — February 14, 2015 @ 6:46 am

  13. > in either appearance, equipment, or bearing

    Got me! How could I have missed that? Now that I think of it, the Girkin in Donbas was dressed differently than the Girkin in Crimea, so clearly those were two totally different Girkins!

    Comment by Ivan — February 14, 2015 @ 8:58 am

  14. Girkin isn’t a Green Man. He’s a retiree.

    Comment by PailiP — February 14, 2015 @ 12:58 pm

  15. And he isn’t a ‘horde’ either.

    Comment by PailiP — February 14, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

  16. “So again, standing hordes on Crimea, not advancing at all” Even though this is only waste of time, please, say which army could remain passive after 27,000 km2 of its territory being annexed by a foreign hostile power?

    Comment by Dixi — February 14, 2015 @ 4:33 pm

  17. One that didn’t want its army wrecked by committing it a mission it had no hope of accomplishing.

    Comment by PailiP — February 15, 2015 @ 5:56 am

  18. very sane. Very calculating.
    And on the political action front …
    http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-who-backs-putin-in-europe–and-why-2015-2

    Comment by Mudak — February 15, 2015 @ 5:58 am

  19. “One that didn’t want its army wrecked by committing it a mission it had no hope of accomplishing.”

    So you did not mention even one army by name, did you? Besides, when it comes to the mission, it was -and still is- the same; to preserve the nation and its sovereignty.

    Comment by Dixi — February 15, 2015 @ 10:56 am

  20. And how’s that been workin’ out, Dixi? 8-10 maneuver brigades wrecked, a couple more surrounded in a pocket, draft-age males making themselves scarce, Ukraine on the verge of economic collapse. Can a course of action producing such a comprehensive, compounding failure be anything other than catastrophically ill-chosen?

    Comment by PailiP — February 15, 2015 @ 1:32 pm

  21. When in war what do you wait? Still the the mission is the same to preserve the nation and its sovereignty. Which of these is already lost?

    Comment by Dixi — February 16, 2015 @ 10:08 am

  22. How about keeping the army out of reach while talking to the Eastern Ukrainians? Because who’s gonna defend Ukrainian sovereignty when the Ukrainian Army is wrecked?

    Comment by PailiP — February 16, 2015 @ 3:22 pm

  23. Another very good presentation on Russian aggression against civilization by Timothy Snyder. Q&A also well-worth watching: “This is a global conflict in which arguably the only winner is China”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoUkoGn7cRU&t=8m30s

    Comment by Ivan — February 17, 2015 @ 4:15 pm

  24. Looks like PailiP is as much of a pro Russian retarded troll as ever.

    T-72BM3. Tornado MLRS. SA-22s. The latest RPG-30s etc. All Russian only equipment.

    The dead Russian soldiers being listed as “killed on exercise”

    But no, PailiP is too dishonest or too retarded to admit what is going on…..

    Comment by Andrew — February 22, 2015 @ 6:29 am

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