By Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog
The person reading this article has most likely seen some form of re-enactment of a Roman trireme navigating some waters and being surrounded by fog, not being able to see further than 1km around them and thus possessing limited knowledge about what lies beyond the “draw distance” provided by their cerebrum. It is this fear (and handicap when it comes to survival) that pushed such ancient civilisations to improve the technology that they possess in order to reduce the risk that sailing the seas bears. The discovery of optics, mathematics, construction techniques, iron and metal works, physics, even astronomy brought the horizon within an arm’s reach and allowed vessels and their captains to become even more ambitious with their plans.
Even though at the time of writing this article it is late 2018 and we now have laptops that are almost paper-thin and electric cars that are almost noiseless, this fear of what may or may not exist beyond either the visible or proverbial horizon has not disappeared anywhere. But the manner in which it is expressed has acquired a more sophisticated character. If 28,000 years ago the human used cave drawings to pass on information about alleged dangers to their successors, then today the human uses contemporary means of mass communication to broadcast similar information about threats to survival. For example, in a recent article posted on the “strategic culture” website there is the following headline: “US Switching to Ukraine as Location to Start World War III Against Russia”. Now the title by itself is rather frightening, let’s agree. If one is seeing the expression “World War III” for the first time and they choose to use the digital library search engine known as “Google” to acquire some “knowledge” about this term, then they almost certainly will require a change of underwear. To illustrate matters, let’s refer to the image below:
In a word: horrifying! We can see a whole city being blown to smithereens, with a fireball that would surely make the sun look like a coin in comparison. So a connection is made: “World War III” equals fire and explosions. But it is unlikely that the inquisitive person’s curiosity will end here. As is the case when someone drives past the scene of a car accident, it is seemingly impossible to not look. This fear, or more precisely – the fear of death (not knowing what happens when life ends), speaks to us and says: “Look, look, look!”. So, after satisfying the need to read more about this “World War III” by reading the information presented in the article, we learn that because Russia reached an agreement with some other countries over Idlib and America gave 2 boats to Kiev, this “World War III” will now not start in Syria, but in Ukraine!
But wait just a minute here, because the notion of cities being engulfed by fireballs is very serious and there is the chance that it might involve death… lots of death… And since descriptions of this “World War III” give the impression that it won’t be just one street or town that may be affected, but entire cities, regions, or maybe nations, one’s wish to have more specific details leaves one in a bit of a pickle, because it follows from the information in the specified article that there is fog on the horizon when it comes to providing specific details. So, without further ado, let’s pull out our modern-day equivalent of a “spyglass” and do some basic reconnaissance before running for the ejector seat and escaping to the moon.
On September 27th the US did indeed give Ukraine 2 vessels. According to the current President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko’s website, they are Island-class patrol boats. I.e., coast guard ships.
However, there was a caveat with the handing over of the boats: “America handed over the vessels for free but Ukraine will pay an estimated $10 million for their renovation in Baltimore, Maryland, where they will remain until, likely, next fall”. Ah, so already we are starting to see the real nature of this “generous gesture”. If we remember, in 2018 France reached an agreement with Kiev over the sale of 55 Airbus helicopters, which consists of “21 repurposed H225s, and 10 brand new H145s and 24 H125”. I.e., non-combat helicopters. Poroshenko’s propaganda machine, which consists of the media outlets that he personally directly owns and the agencies that are under his control, did not publicise the fact that most of the helicopters are second-hand. Furthermore, America was jealous of the fact that France was able to swindle Kiev in such a way. And back in 2017 there was the Javelin fiasco, where the US government was mulling (according to the media) over giving “Javelins” to Kiev. It was then reported in December, 2017 that Trump had given the green light for the sending of Javelins, but all we know from that moment is that they were “tested” by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in May, 2018 in Western Ukraine. However, many tabloid spin machines (for example) were adamant that the delivery of these Javelins signalled the beginning of this “World War III”. And they weren’t alone in this hysteria: social media “experts” pressed the “panic” button in unison and decided that if Russia didn’t drop Tsar Bomba on Kiev, it was game over. For them it doesn’t matter that the DPR/LPR don’t use tanks anymore because of the Minsk Agreements and what is happening in Donbass today can hardly be called a “war” (in a war there are offensives, not cowardly shelling on residential areas from a safe area, trying to bait Russia into responding).
But shock horror, as of the time of writing these Javelins have never been used outside the training ground near Lvov, something that your humble servant already predicted long ago. One would think that if Russia is so “aggressive”, as Kiev claims, and Ukraine’s economy is being decimated by “Russian troops”, then there would be some urgency concerning using these Javelins in order to repel the aggressor. But no…
So coming back to the topic of these boats: knowing that Poroshenko is willing to literally pay the Trump administration thousands of dollars just for a fake meeting that will give his Euromaidan and Banderist electorate back home the illusions that “America stands with us”, it is more than likely that this was yet another PR stunt concocted by Poroshenko’s campaign HQ, which has also authored the “autocephaly“, “Russian aggression in the Azov Sea“, and “termination of the Treaty of Friendship” bullet points of his 2019 Presidential electoral campaign.
So how can these splendid vessels be, as the author of the aforementioned “World War III” article put it, exploited “for use against Russia”? Well the first problem here is that Ukraine has no money. Yes, it is more than bankrupt. Its GDP is now exclusively being used to pay back the money that the West lent to it at extortionate interest rates. As soon as a hryvna enters the coffers, it is immediately dispatched abroad. In fact, its GDP has been substituted with IMF/World Bank/EU/US loans – something that Greece is very familiar with. In fact, Ukraine’s economy makes most African countries look like paradises.
Secondly, the conveyor of the information about “World War III” being launched in Ukraine cites a comment made by a Mr Ryan Zinke, who is the US Secretary of the Interior. Yes, precisely Secretary of the Interior, and nothing else. For reasons that rhyme with “clickbait” various publications (for example) decided to report “US Hints At Naval Blockade Of Russian Energy Exports”. Again, the comment was made by the Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, at an “industry event in Pittsburgh hosted by the Consumer Energy Alliance”. And even if such a statement was made by the White House, so what? After decade upon decade of blah blah blah about how they are going to do this and that to Russia, actions never follow. After all, dumping a few tomahawks on empty warehouses in Syria (both “attacks” were coordinated with Russia beforehand because Washington is very afraid of its own incompetence) is not only a sign of weakness, but also actually helps Russia’s operations in Syria (the “democratic and just wolf” showed the “aggressive Bear” that behind the facade is a scared and futile puppy).
Thirdly, the events in the Azov Sea in the month of September can hardly be described as “war” or even fisticuffs. The fact is that Russian pilots were allowed to come onboard Ukrainian ships to help them navigate through the shallow waters of the Azov Sea. Does this sound like something a country would do if it were indeed “at war” with an “aggressor”? Here are two more referrals that cite other Ukrainians who debunked Poroshenko’s PR stunt: Link 1 and Link 2.
So now onto the topic of Syria and the Idlib conundrum. On September 4th Donald Trump did indeed tweet the following:
“President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province. The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don’t let that happen!”
Yes, Trump tweeted. But what does it mean? The tweet in itself is designed for internal consumption, of course. I.e., for GI Joe Americans to feel like America is still powerful and can flex its muscles anywhere in the globe. The precise reason why no strike followed and Russia and Turkey instead reached an agreement to avoid another Sarin spectacle is beyond the scope of this article, but it can be summarised as international law (not the R2P version, but the S-400 version) triumphing over chaotization (the new format of the R2P version of international law). Furthermore, America would risk a direct war with Russia on Syrian soil no more than it would on Ukrainian soil. I.e., not at all. Assad already won in Idlib (and in the war in general) when Russian jets touched down at Hmeymim in 2015. This event gave impetus to processes that could not be stopped neither by token Israeli airstrikes at alleged “Hezbollah” cow sheds nor by Tomahawk PR extravaganzas. Thus, the actual cleaning of the city from jihadist filth is merely a formality, and by all accounts Nusra & Co are doing a pretty good job already – infighting, a lack of support, and Turkish arm twisting are softening the city itself up for the inevitable 2019 final deal (based on the terms of the Russia-Turkey-Iran axis) regarding Idlib. Thus, Russia is in no hurry to resolve the Idlib question, especially when Iran can launch missiles directly over America’s head in Eastern Syria (Albu Kamal).
It must be stated (once again) that at no point in the Syrian war (2011 onwards) was a direct clash between Russia and America an option. There is the misconception (or wishful thinking) that “the US Government was setting Syria up as the place to start WW III”, but this implies not only that the US government is suicidally unaware that it would be utterly annihilated if it decided to raise the stakes to the skies, but also that the UN is frozen in 2002, when a mock vial of anthrax was all that was needed to bulldoze Middle Eastern country “X”. And whilst America is “setting up Syria” for the “WW III” bonanza, do other processes stop? Does Nord Stream-2, the Silk Road, Turkish Stream, BRICS (T?), SCO, EEU, etc just freeze in time?
Also, if the US was “setting Syria up as the place to start WW III”, does it mean that: a) Assad helped America to “set up” Syria since it was his (and those of his father) socio-economic policies (free handouts + overpopulation) that weakened Syria enough for Wahhabism to grab it by the throat? And if the US was “also setting up Ukraine as an alternative possibility” for nuclear war, does that mean Ukraine’s problems started only when America started to do this? Or are things more complicated, and the roots of Syria’s and Ukraine’s problems extend beyond 2011 and 2014 respectively? Moreover, the causes of these problems are multi-faceted and have different layers of complexity. They are not just “America vs Russia” chess games. In fact, it is quicker to enumerate the countries that AREN’T meddling in Syria or Ukraine. And each party has their own interests and objectives (we are not in the 2002 Iraq/Afghanistan invasion era where the West is a single consolidated bloc dancing to Tel Aviv’s tune).
Lastly, as was touched on in passing earlier, the situation in Donbass is far from being what it was in even 2016. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (and its comrade “volunteer” battalions) and the mainstream Ukrainian society (those who were duped by the Euromaidan spectacle, didn’t fully commit to the idea that Russia is an aggressor, and slowly experience moments of clarity when they witness how their bank balance diminishes every month) is completely exhausted from what has happened not just in the zone of the “Anti-terrorist operation”, but also nationwide as a whole. And here the fact that various DPR political figures have already launched their electoral campaigns for the November 11th elections is very indicative of where priorities now lie. It is clear that America gave Poroshenko the green light to concentrate on the new front in the churches (replacing the old, failed one in Donbass).
And on this front there is an increased chance that Russia may indeed “do something” and intervene in one way or another, as the Minsk Agreements was designed to allow Russia to freeze the situation in Ukraine that arose in 2014 and enter Syria without overexposing its rear. We are now in 2018, fast approaching 2019, and Moscow’s operation in Syria is de facto complete. It was succeeded to keep Syrian statehood intact and to firmly remind Tel Aviv that there is a new sheriff – invited by the legitimate president of Syria! – in the town called “MENA”. Whether the OSCE will be obliged to protect Ukrainian canonical churches from the Banderist hoardes that are already trying to seize churches despite “Autocephaly” not yet being granted, unless the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is playing Poroshenko like a fiddle?
If the West is going to use Ukraine to do something “against Russia”, it will merely be an extension of what we have already seen: since reality has proven that defeating Russia militarily is a pipedream, Ukraine acts like a fifth-column battering ram designed to incite Russian society (and as much of the peripheral post-Soviet space as possible) against Putin. The Kremlin reacted quickly to save Crimea from the “love” of “Right Sector”, and the Minsk Agreements solved the problem of saving Donbass without giving America what it wanted – Russian troops inside Ukraine. Putin knows much more than you the reader or I know when it comes to what is best for the Russian nation, and it’s not a coincidence that he regularly meets with the President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko. The West’s attempts to turn this former Soviet Republic into another anti-Russia battering ram continue unabated, and the work of NGOs (both Soros-funded and non-Soros-funded) to subvert Belarusian society won’t stop just because the West is having an economic crisis.
However, the modern color revolution scheme that was tried and test in Egypt with the “Twitter revolution” has one major flaw – if the financial situation of the working man and woman is stable (assuming that the West’s toxic NGO’s haven’t already infected their brains and convinced them that the “dictator” represses them because they don’t have the latest sports car or Armani bag), then inciting them (along with the village people who are political outcasts and perhaps have sentiments for “heroes” like Stepan Bandera) to overthrow the legally elected President becomes difficult. A good example: the West tried to hijack the “pension reform” topic in Russia, but alas, they failed. In fact, it isn’t excluded that Jeff Monson’s observations played an important role in this.
What is “World War III”? We’ve heard so much about it and we’re always told by certain blogs that it is imminent, and sometimes learning more about it requires a PayPal transaction. But when some time has passed and nothing matching the description of “World War III” has happened, there is always some excuse as to why it hasn’t happened yet. And diplomatic solutions to problems are in general not promoted in the blogosphere. Why? Because they are “boring”. Talking around a table doesn’t quite have the same Hollywood effect as a “Kinzhal” missile hitting USS Donald Cook. And since social media has reduced attention spans and thinking patterns to 20 minute blocks, the cravings for endorphins become more and more stronger.
It is also said on forums that in 7.5 billion years the sun will engulf our planet. So should we all strap a stopwatch to our wrists and countdown for the “big one”? After all, how far can we take this pant-pooping? Could it be that (brace yourselves) there will be no nuclear exchanges in our lifetimes? Does any contemplation of this possibility make life “boring”? Why support Putin and the Eurasian project if we are all doomed? Why do Foreign Ministers hold bilateral meetings and coordinate raw material trade under contracts that will expire in 2050 if “World War III” is imminent? Does the blogosphere know something that Presidents, Cabinets, and recognised analysts/advisors don’t know? Why is the stock market not in mass panic if “World War III” is imminent? After all, in 2013 the price of the hryvna had already plummeted but it wasn’t a fact back then that Yanukovych would be removed… Traders, like Ministries of Defence, have algorithms to help them forecast future movements. Like a complex spyglass. Why does Germany want Nord Stream 2 so badly (to counter America’s economic blackmail) if “World War III” is going to start soon? Why bother laying the pipes underwater, completing a mountain of paperwork, and signing long-term contracts for Gazprom gas? After all, Germany is meddling in Syria and Ukraine just as much as the US is…
In my previous article I was asked what the following expression means:
“…the core of fourth generation warfare is using simulacra to position a digital hologram over actual ground warfare in order to carve out space to manoeuvre diplomatically”
The answer as to why “World War III” – according to the alt-media’s definition of the term – hasn’t yet happened lies inside it. But this will be the topic for a future article. In the meantime it is wise to remember that as of this moment geopolitical processes are happening in PARALLEL, and not SERIAL.