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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Separatist (read Russian) offensive about ready to kick off in Ukraine.

Link: Indications point to a Russian-backed offensive in the Ukraine.

We've had so much news coming out of Iraq and Syria, not to mention to deterioration of Constitutional authority in the United States lately, that we haven't had much to say about events in Ukraine.  Fortunately, while we were away, most of the action was taking place in planning rooms and in front of the press.  Both the Ukrainian government and the Russian-backed separatists continue to make a show out of adhering to the cease-fire conditions of the "Minsk 2" agreement.  The Ukrainians probably felt as if they had no choice, but everything that comes from the other side is complete crap.  I have always been amazed at watching diplomats negotiate with people who can't be trusted.  Hillary Clinton is a classic example.  She would sign a treaty with Hitler if it might win her an election.  We can't pretend to be "just discovering" what a snake Putin is; we've known for decades, even before he took the throne.  But we signed a treaty with him, one that eliminates any strategic edge we might have in ballistic missiles.  Believe me, when these Republican egoists go at each other in the upcoming debates, I will be listening to someone talking about REAL issues: drastic reduction in government spending and the abolition of the New Start Treaty.  But I digress.  I believe we were talking about Ukraine . . .

Recently the Pentagon released an annual threat assessment, which highlighted Russia more than any terrorist group.  The brief correctly concluded that Russia has no respect for any international borders, as they prove time and time again.  Pretending that the Donbas Separatist Groups are really behind the insurrection in Ukraine is like trying to hide an amputation with a Band-Aid.  It just doesn't fly, especially in light of intelligence collected by drones that illustrate a continued Russian military build-up.  Kiev claims that there are at least 7,000 Russian soldiers in Ukraine, under the authority of five Generals.  That's a bit much.  I think we could handle 7,000 U.S. Army troops with a Lt. Colonel . . . but you know how those Russians like to show off their rank, with the giant medals
Source: russiandefpolicy.wordpress
and hilariously oversized hats.  A friend of mine suspects that the Russian military noticed that our officer's uniform hats were a bit more attractive than theirs. So, in typical Russian fashion (bigger is better), they just increased the circumference of their officer hats, which leave them looking like a combination of a hubcap and a sombrero. But again I digress. I believe we were talking about Ukraine . . .

I understand that the Ukrainian military is still hesitant to fully deploy their armed forces in the Donbas region, for security fears regarding Kiev.  The way I see it, if they don't deploy sometime soon, we will be at the gates of Kiev soon regardless.  The truth is, Poroshenko would have been wiser to have called out a full-mobilization and an offensive by now.  He might have had hope of recovering Crimea, given the difficulty the Russians would have initially had resupplying their forces.  But the entire province has been militarized and Russianized by now, and the defensive positions taken by the separatists are going to be a hard nut to crack.  Poroshenko had to attempt a diplomatic solution first, though, he knows as well as us that Russia and Putin weren't interested in any political solution.  In the beginning of the conflict, Putin would have withdrawn support for the separatists if Kiev and the West had acknowledged the annexation of Crimea.  But our weakness and unwillingness to supply the Ukrainian military with weapons and equipment have far surpassed Putin's wildest hopes.  Now he is in a position to dismember Ukraine for good.

The upcoming offensive that is being discussed in the halls of the Pentagon, in Kiev, and in the living rooms of Mariupol, no doubt, are intended to widen the territory over which the separatist political arm can claim authority.  The more territory you occupy, the better your bargaining position.  President Obama, who should be leading on this issue, has only introduced sanctions to ward off Russian aggression.  We knew how far that would go.  We need to arm the Ukrainians to the hilt, and start deploying (or at least pretend to) some sort of missile shield system in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.  What I would give to see someone call Putin's bluff.  The missile defense is key. . . he will abandon Ukraine if it's used as a threat.  But we don't do those sorts of things.  This administration went to the Neville Chamberlain school of diplomacy: give everything away, and then bend over.  Yes, I know Europe has been just as prostrate, but most of the NATO countries committed self-emasculation some time ago.  Outside of the UK and France, who won't hesitate to throw troops into Africa on a moment's notice, no European country has been engaged militarily since the first Gulf War (I don't count Kosovo or U.N. peacekeeping duty, OK?).  But I believe that the Europeans are scared, and are willing to follow our lead.  Now to find a leader . . .

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