There is a lot of speculation about the current US/NATO operations in the Black Sea region. I would like to offer the following bulletpoint comments about what I believe is going on.
- If we add up all the US+NATO forces involved in this operation, they fall far short of what would be needed for an attack on Russia. Thus, in purely military terms, this is just a Kabuki theater, not a real threat to Russia.
- Both the Russians and the US commanders know that.
- The intended audience is the Ukrainian population whom the following “message” is sent: “we are here, we are invincible, we got your back, and if you happen to get into an open conflict/war with Russia, we will protect you“. Of course, not such commitment is formally made, only implied. This is an exact repeat of what happened in 08.08.08.
- At the same time, the hysterical warmongering in the Ukie media is going absolutely through the roof, these folks are now seriously considering not only “liberating” the Donbass and beating the crap out of the Russian military, some even want to “liberate” some Russian territory. These idiots actually very much look forward to a war against Russia!
Those interested in the details can check my previous entry on this topic here: http://thesaker.is/why-i-see-a-war-in-the-donbass-as-almost-inevitable/
Next, we have to always keep in mind the following crucial fact: the USA does not have what it takes to attack Russia. In purely conventional (non nuclear) terms, the US+NATO do not have the numbers needed in Europe to conduct any semi-successful attack against Russia. For example, if any US destroyer launches its (old and slow) Tomahawks towards Russia or Russian forces, this launch will be instantly detected and hypersonic missiles (or, alternatively, underwater torpedoes) will get to the USN ships even before the Tomahawks get anywhere near their intended targets. This is especially true for Crimea where Russia deployed a very modern and integrated air defense system capable of firing many more missiles than the USN ships can launch. If the US wanted to really attack Russia, then it would take them many months to prepare itself for such a huge undertaking.
The US Americans are not stupid, they know that, and they have zero need for such a situation.
In theory, a “thin” forward deployed force can also serve as a “tripwire”, but not in this case: why would the Russians ever feel the need to sink ships which present no military danger and which they can always destroy in minutes?
Likewise, folks at the Pentagon know that even if they launched a massive attack on Russia, especially a nuclear one, the USA would cease to exist in just a few hours.
Again, both the Russians and the US Americans know that.
And, again, the intended audience are the clueless Ukies which now are preparing for a “crushing victory over Russia”.
This is why I don’t see any circumstances under which the US would deliberately attack Russia (though a mistake or a quick escalation is always possible) and that is why I see a Ukie attack/provocation as inevitable (the Ukronazis in Kiev really have nothing at all to lose).
BTW – the EU is also gearing up for such a situation, already demonizing Russia even more than it has for the last decades. The 3B+PU are in full martial hysteria mode, especially the Poles who realize that triggering a war involving Russia is pretty much their last chance to remain of some relevance to the real Europe. And since Uncle Shmuel is putting pressure on the Europeans to fall in line, there are really very few European politicians who dare oppose the current verbal escalation against Russian (and Belarus).
Finally, the situation around Belarus is very dangerous indeed, as any local violence could quickly involve both Belarussian and Polish forces (along with a few NATO tripwire units). In that case, the adults in the room (Russia and the USA) would need to very quickly intervene to contain the situation and de-escalate. Since I do not believe that the US wants a war with Russia, I think that this is exactly what both sides would do.
So where are we headed? In my opinion, towards a crushing Russian military victory over whatever the Ukies throw at her followed by a no less crushing US political victory over the EU and Russia. The Ukies will be used as canon-fodder and they will lose some territory again (thereby getting rid of a population which hates them and which will never vote for the Ukronazis). The EU will have to fall in line behind Uncle Shmuel and the ruling classes of the Empire will finally get what they wanted all along: a very tense confrontation with Russia which they will then exploit to keep the Europeans nice and subservient. That is also the last option available to the Empire to shut down NS2.
Putin has announced that he will not order any special Russian military exercises in the Black Sea (which the MoD suggested). He did that for two very good reasons, one official one not so much:
- Official reason: we are the good guys, so we will de-escalate as much as possible
- Real reason: there is not need for any maneuvers at all, every US/NATO ship/aircraft is already tracked and the Russians can sink (or shoot them down) from their current position and state of alert.
The Kremlin is working very hard on trying to de-escalate all this, but it takes two to tango. The party which has the most to lose from all this would be the EU, but it is run by pliable and incompetent politicians who have no understanding, no vision and no spine. They won’t make a difference.
As for the people of the Ukraine, who will really lose more than anybody else, they have shown almost no ability to fight the Nazis in power. If anything, a state of war would make it even EASIER for the Nazis to deal with any and all opposition.
Hope dies last, and maybe some behind the scenes discussions between the USA and Russia can defuse the current standoff, but I am not very hopeful here. At least we know that the US and Russia are talking to each other on the highest levels, which is by definition preferable to a shooting war.
We have been on the brink in the past, will we cross over this time around?
I honestly don’t know.