Articles – Israel Shamir http://www.israelshamir.com The Fighting Optimist Tue, 29 Nov 2022 17:21:18 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.5.4 To Make Sense of War http://www.israelshamir.com/article/to-make-sense-of-war/ Mon, 28 Nov 2022 17:20:24 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3940

We have been struggling to understand the tragic events in the Ukraine, poring over a stream of current events to discover the master plan behind Putin’s strategy. We failed. Then we looked back to December last year. Suddenly it all clicked.

On December 15, 2021 Russia sent an ultimatum to the US and NATO. Two days later it was published, and the Russian Foreign Office invited the West to sign up and to agree to it, or at least begin discussing it. Not only was it not signed, it wasn’t even properly acknowledged. It was blatantly ignored, as though it were a demand from a teenager to an adult.

Pity, for it would have saved the world from the Ukraine War and Europeans from expensive bills, and the US from the terrible destruction and massive deaths of WWIII. Putin had made clear what he wanted, and it was a reasonable request. All that happened subsequently was brought about in order to achieve, at least, an adult discussion of these documents.

Putin sent the army to Kazakhstan, and in February to the Ukraine, and more recently his army has begun destroying Ukrainian infrastructure, which they had refrained from damaging before.

There is a Russian joke about a man who frequently visited somebody else’s wife. The husband found him and threw him from the window. When he came home a few days later, he discovered his wife’s lover with his legs and arms in a cast. He carried him to the window, but before casting him down, said to him: “Friend, this is my wife. Lay off!” And the lover replied: “Why didn’t you say so at once? Why did you only hint at it?”

NATO and the US should have listened to Putin in December ’21, instead of waiting until December ’22. All the sorrows of the Ukraine have come from subtle hints from Mr Putin, who was not even very interested in the Ukraine.

Let us see what Russia wants from the US.

Article 1

The Parties shall cooperate on the basis of principles of indivisible, equal and undiminished security and to these ends:

  • shall not undertake actions nor participate in or support activities that affect the security of the other Party;
  • shall not implement security measures adopted by each Party individually or in the framework of an international organization, military alliance or coalition that could undermine core security interests of the other Party.

Article 2

The Parties shall seek to ensure that all international organizations, military alliances and coalitions in which at least one of the Parties is taking part adhere to the principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations.

Article 3

The Parties shall not use the territories of other States with a view to preparing or carrying out an armed attack against the other Party or other actions affecting core security interests of the other Party.

Article 4

The United States of America shall undertake to prevent further eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and deny accession to the Alliance to the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The United States of America shall not establish military bases in the territory of the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, use their infrastructure for any military activities or develop bilateral military cooperation with them.

Article 5

The Parties shall refrain from deploying their armed forces and armaments, including in the framework of international organizations, military alliances or coalitions, in the areas where such deployment could be perceived by the other Party as a threat to its national security, with the exception of such deployment within the national territories of the Parties.

The Parties shall refrain from flying heavy bombers equipped for nuclear or non-nuclear armaments or deploying surface warships of any type, including in the framework of international organizations, military alliances or coalitions, in the areas outside national airspace and national territorial waters respectively, from where they can attack targets in the territory of the other Party.

The Parties shall maintain dialogue and cooperate to improve mechanisms to prevent dangerous military activities on and over the high seas, including agreeing on the maximum approach distance between warships and aircraft.

Article 6

The Parties shall undertake not to deploy ground-launched intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles outside their national territories, as well as in the areas of their national territories, from which such weapons can attack targets in the national territory of the other Party.

Article 7

The Parties shall refrain from deploying nuclear weapons outside their national territories and return such weapons already deployed outside their national territories at the time of the entry into force of the Treaty to their national territories. The Parties shall eliminate all existing infrastructure for deployment of nuclear weapons outside their national territories.

The Parties shall not train military and civilian personnel from non-nuclear countries to use nuclear weapons. The Parties shall not conduct exercises or training for general-purpose forces, that include scenarios involving the use of nuclear weapons.

Pay heed to Articles 4, 5 and 6. They are relevant for the case of Ukraine.

Let us see the Russian proposal to NATO, starting with Article 4:

Article 4

The Russian Federation and all the Parties that were member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as of 27 May 1997, respectively, shall not deploy military forces and weaponry on the territory of any of the other States in Europe in addition to the forces stationed on that territory as of 27 May 1997. With the consent of all the Parties such deployments can take place in exceptional cases to eliminate a threat to security of one or more Parties.

Article 5

The Parties shall not deploy land-based intermediate- and short-range missiles in areas allowing them to reach the territory of the other Parties.

Article 6

All member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization commit themselves to refrain from any further enlargement of NATO, including the accession of Ukraine as well as other States.

Article 7

The Parties that are member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization shall not conduct any military activity on the territory of Ukraine as well as other States in the Eastern Europe, in the South Caucasus and in Central Asia.

In order to exclude incidents the Russian Federation and the Parties that are member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization shall not conduct military exercises or other military activities above the brigade level in a zone of agreed width and configuration on each side of the border line of the Russian Federation and the states in a military alliance with it, as well as Parties that are member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Now we can all understand what Putin wants. There are no difficult or hidden conditions, all is perfectly clear. Putin insists on formalizing conditions that were agreed upon by Mr Gorbachev and his Western counterparts in the 80’s and 90’s of the former century. The Russia of Mr Putin does not want to seize the territories or the resources of other countries. What he proposed is not the Sykes-Picot Treaty; it is a generous proposal to the West. If they won’t accept it, then let us accept the unavoidable nuclear annihilation of mankind. The proud will fall, the humble will inherit the earth. And really shocking is that all the conditions and reasons were stated a year ago, and there was a plenty of time to settle. This explains relative lack of Putin’s interest in the Ukraine. Even withdrawal from Herson did not distress him much. Putin does not want to annex the Ukraine, he will do it only in no choice situation.

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Israel Moves Rightwards http://www.israelshamir.com/article/israel-moves-rightwards/ Sat, 05 Nov 2022 16:19:10 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3937

People do not like liberals – well-wishing, wishy-washy liberals. They prefer man-eating crocodiles. Israelis voted out their liberal PM Lapid and returned Bibi Netanyahu to Balfour Street. Bibi was out of office for all of one and a half years, and at that time enlightened Israelites (mainly Ashkenazi Jews) voted and voted to find who should take his place. They decided they wanted anybody who is not Bibi. You’d think there would be plenty of candidates, but no! Despite five rounds of elections, no stable government was formed. Politicians are very selfish creatures, and they can’t agree easily. Now after all they voted – not only Bibi back into power, but two awful racist reactionary believers in Jewish supremacy, named Smotrich and Ben Gvir. These two guys, or rather their party called Religious Zionists, gained an unbelievable 14 seats in Parliament (Knesset). Their like had never had so many seats before.

Meir Kahane was the first of their ilk. He won one seat in the 1984 elections; the next elections he was banned from running, and an anti-racist law forbade his followers from running either. Parliamentarians didn’t want to hear him, and when he did speak, he spoke to an empty hall.

There was a religious Zionist party MAFDAL at that time, but it was soft and liberal compared to Kahane. There were fierce extreme nationalist parties like Moledet, but they were small and not religious.

New Religious Zionist Party embraced sheer Kahanism and became the third biggest party in 2022. Its leader Ben Gvir reportedly had a portrait of Baruch Golstein, mass killer at the Hebron Mosque, in his living room. He also called for the deportation from Israel of an Arab politician, Mr Ayman Odeh of Hadash. He had a long list of offences committed as a leader of settler youth and was indicted a few times for hate speech. He is an Oriental Jew by birth, and a lawyer by profession. Bibi Netanyahu supported a merger of his party with two other radical groups and ensured their participation in the elections. The US had already in May this year removed Kahanists from their list of terrorist groups.

At the same time leftist parties Labour and left-of-Labour Meretz crashed. Meretz is completely out, while Labour is down to 5 mandates. Both parties were led by feminist women, and both activated the gender agenda, like the US Democrats. This proved a way to disaster as Israel has real problems – relations between Arabs and Jews; expensive housing; low salaries – and gender problems do not matter much. This Knesset will have fewer women than it has had for years; because the Meretz is out with all its ladies.

When Israel was established, Labour and MAPAM (the former name of Meretz) were the biggest parties, while Herut (the former name of Likud) was a tiny party. Things changed, and now the leftists have lost. And they are not even mourned. American media tried to hide this confusing news. Mondoweiss reported:

The main New York Times news story — which was buried in the print edition on page 10 rather than put on the front page where it belonged — partly sanitized Ben-Gvir’s party by calling it “an ultranationalist religious alliance” that is “far right.”

Even more offensively, the Times report then insinuated that “many right-wing Jewish Israeli voters” had supported Ben-Gvir because they were “unsettled by Arab participation in Israel’s outgoing government.” This is astonishing media malpractice. The implication is that Jewish Israelis turned toward an extreme racist mainly because they were “unsettled” that the previous government, led by Yair Lapid, had been supported by a small party representing some Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The truth is more along these lines: “Many right-wing Israeli voters are ‘unsettled’ that any Palestinians live in Israel or in the occupied territories at all.” Any cub reporter could have gone to the Ben-Gvir party’s post-election celebration last night and gotten some hair-raising racist quotes in a couple of nano-seconds — but the Times has a long-standing tradition of hiding such viciousness.

The Times report did improve. Reporter Patrick Kingsley smuggled in some telling details about Ben-Gvir, including that “until recently, he hung a portrait in his home of Baruch Goldstein, who shot dead 29 Palestinians in a West Bank mosque in 1994.”

National Public Radio’s coverage was even worse. Daniel Estrin’s 3-minute on-the-spot report simply called Ben-Gvir “a far right provocateur” — but failed to mention that Netanyahu will now have to give him an influential ministry. Even worse, Estrin described Ben-Gvir’s campaign as “calling for tough law enforcement against Palestinians and Palestinian citizens of Israel.” The insinuation is clear: it’s the Palestinians who are ‘lawless’ — instead of second-class citizens living under what all major human rights groups have called a system of “apartheid.”

By contrast, the Washington Post did much better. Its very first sentence accurately reported that the election results are “a stunning victory for Israel’s far right — a once fringe, aggressively anti-democratic, fundamentally racist movement that in a number of weeks may man the country’s most influential seats of power.”

But maybe the Post’s senior editors got scared by how honest their reporters were. Because at 8:30 a.m. this morning, you couldn’t find this news report anywhere on the paper’s online home page.

Now it will be a serious struggle for the Biden administration to stop Ben Gvir from taking a seat in the government. But it is doubtful this will succeed.

Haaretz newspaper came out with the headline: Israel Election: A Quasi-fascist, Ultra-religious Government for a Country That Deserves Better. It isn’t true: the country does not deserve better. The Left pushed for gay community, while Arabs and Russians were discriminated against. When the Left ruled they kept half of the population disenfranchised. Monopolies ruled in Israel, even then. They had a choice – to link up with Palestinians or with settlers. They preferred neither and received nothing.

This is also a part of a global pattern. The Left lost in Sweden, too. The idea of the Left that they can ban right-wing parties is a mistake. But the idea of banning far left and far right is a sure way to lose.

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The Dull War http://www.israelshamir.com/article/the-dull-war/ Wed, 12 Oct 2022 16:13:50 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3934

The war was predominantly dull; with little movement. Trench warfare as in WWI. The big mistake was at the beginning when Russia tried to take a country of 40m with a few soldiers. The Head of Russian Intelligence Mr Naryshkin recently admitted that Russia had no reliable intelligence on Ukraine. For many years, since 1991, Russian intelligence service did not follow developments in the Ukraine. So Russia went to war, hoping the Ukrainians would greet their soldiers with flowers. It ended with a big retreat of the Russian troops. Putin thought he could make an agreement with Kiev, but it turns out the Ukraine signs agreements one day and reneges on them the next day. So it went on, until half a year later the Russian army began mobilization of its reserves.

It was not all bad: Russia had good and bad moments in its fight with Ukraine. A good moment was the capture of Mariupol on the Azov Sea coast. A bad moment was the Kharkov retreat. A silly moment was the grain deal and the withdrawal from Serpent Island. Moments of trouble were when the US/UK marines exploded the gas pipelines and when Daria Dougin was assassinated. A moment of truth is the present critique of the army commanders, including calls for the Defence Minister to shoot himself. People are unhappy with the way the Russian army is acting. The explosion on the Crimea Bridge has made this feeling acute.

And at this moment Putin called General Surovikin to take charge of the war in Ukraine. Surovikin is a popular general who commanded the Syrian operation and he has been nicknamed “General Armageddon” for obvious reasons. And Gen. Armageddon did what the people wanted: he launched dozens of cruise missiles on Ukrainian cities. Kiev has been attacked for the first time; electricity was knocked out in many places, including Kharkov. Until now Putin took care of the Ukraine infrastructure as if it were his own. Now this has changed. One thing remained: the Russians try to preserve civilians, as opposed to the Ukrainian military who do not mind killing civilians.

The war started because since the 2014 coup the Ukrainians had been shelling the Donbas, a predominantly Russian-populated area in the South East of the country. Putin tried to solve the conflict by the Minsk agreement, which promised an autonomous Donbas within federal Ukraine. The Ukrainians signed the Minsk agreement but had no intention of observing its articles. They killed thousands of people from the Donbas, mainly by shelling their shops, schools, and even streets. The nationalists of the Azov Battalion were especially ferocious towards the Donbas people. When Russian troops came to help the Donbas in February this year, the Azov fighters retreated to the vast underground caverns of Mariupol steel works.

However, they surrendered soon enough: to be sealed in caverns is not much fun, though they had food and water. Some two thousand fighters went into captivity. The people of the Donbas wanted to send them to a tribunal together with foreign mercenaries. But Moscow overruled them and they were exchanged for Russian POWs, and, annoyingly, for an opposition politician. Some Azov POWs were killed by the Kiev shelling of the POW camp: they apparently had begun to reveal harmful truths about their actions. The exchanged Azov fighters were carried by an oligarch, the Russian Jew Roman Abramovitch, in his private jet to the UAE. This also annoyed the people, who would have preferred them to stand trial.

The patriotic Russians were quite upset by the way war was conducted. They felt that the Russian commanders were too soft on the Ukraine while the Ukrainians continued shelling the Donbas. Russian writers and artists often supported the Ukraine. In Moscow, money was gathered for the Ukraine, not for the Russian army. Now, General Armageddon’s blitz has changed this feeling, but still the Ukraine has many supporters in Russia in pro-Western circles. That is not likely to change soon: 30 years of pro-Western politics can’t be undone in a moment. Frustration was high, because the Donbas was shelled but Kiev was unharmed.

It seems that is Putin soft-pedalling the campaign: he still hopes for positive changes after the US midterm elections, and in keeping the Third World on his side. Time will show whether this is a reasonable hope. The Western mainstream media is batting for the Ukraine. Russians killed are presented as victims of Russian ethnic cleansing, as in Bucha and Izium. The grain deal was concluded only because the media screamed about starving Africa. It was a flop: only 2% of the wheat went to poor countries while the rest went to the EU. Russians also gave away Serpent Island, a perfect base for starting a landing operation in Odessa.

The Ukrainian elite receive a lot of money, and high level contacts and appreciation. Mrs Zelensky was wined and dined by HRH the Princess of Wales. They are not going to like peace and being consigned to obscurity. Putin’s desires are quite irrelevant now as the big customer of the Ukraine is the US/UK, and they gain from war. The war is paid for by Europe; the US gets profits. Now the US sells liquefied gas for 4 times the Russian price, and the Europeans pay.

Sure, it is costly for the Ukrainian people; they suffer under Russian missiles. But the US does not care. For them it is profitable. German industries will probably go down: even better for the US. They hope they will relocate to the US.

There is no doubt the Russian gas pipelines were severed by US/UK sabotage. Russian sources name even the person who did it (Lt. Chris Bianchi). Now we learn that NATO tried to bomb the gas pipelines in 2015 for the first time, but they were apprehended. Only now has it become known. Alas, Sweden does not want to allow Russian access to the site of explosion; nor does it wants to share the results of its investigation. The terrorists did a messy job: they left one pipeline untouched, so the Russians and the Germans can start pumping gas right away if there is the political will. But it’s unclear whether the Germans have any political will outside of conforming to US wishes.

The US’s Party of War is very strong and Russians have no chance of defeating it. But it does not mean a nuclear war is unavoidable. Neither the US or RF Presidents wants it. Probably the conventional war will go on without crossing to the nuclear threshold. The peace agreement probably will fall short of the wishes of both sides, but Russians are unwilling to enter another Minsk agreement just to be abused by Kiev.

Russia and Sanctions

The main US/EU weapons against Russia are sanctions and the Iron Curtain. While sanctions have made only a little dent in the fabric of Russian society, this is not the case with the Iron Curtain. It is painful and annoying. For the last 30 years, Russians have got used to travelling to Europe. Now they have to change their habits. Yes, Russians can travel to Turkey and to Israel, to India and to Latin America, but Europe was nearby and friendly. Now it is difficult to reach: usually they can via a flight to Istanbul, but for much more money. It is especially painful for wealthy Russians: they used to spend their weekends in Paris and London; not anymore.

Sanctions are probably disturbing for businessmen, but ordinary people notice them less in Russia than in Europe. Meat is good and plentiful; gas is cheap; theatre is good and inexpensive. The whole Ring of the Nibelungs (four extra-long operas) can be heard for a hundred dollars.

Inflation happens in Russia, like everywhere else. But there is no green madness, or gender craze. There are no patriotic teaching or songs. Russia is quite progressive but not too much. Churches are open and full of worshippers. Actually, life is normal. Perhaps too normal for a country whose frontline just collapsed because of lack of soldiers.

Mobilisation has come to correct this deficiency. For the first time in 80 years Russians are mobilising, and it went poorly. Volunteers were refused, while the sick and elderly were drafted. A lot of relatively young pro-Western people escaped to Georgia and Israel, where there is no need for visas. But still, the necessary amount of folk were drafted. In two months, the Russian army will have enough soldiers to keep the frontline.

In the meantime it is dealing with terror. The explosion of the Crimea Bridge has been investigated. It turned out that the explosives were sent out of the Ukraine by a boat ostensibly loaded with wheat according to the wheat deal. The deadly load went via Bulgaria and Georgia to Russia. Just now Russian security has detained the Ukrainians who smuggled two Igla anti-aircraft missiles with launchers via Estonia. They planned to down civilian airplanes in Russia. Estonia was involved in the killing of Daria Dougin, a young Russian lady, daughter of philosopher Alexander Dougin, in the vicinity of Moscow. The Estonian minister congratulated Ukraine for the terrorist act on the Crimea Bridge. Lithuania tried to stop Russian access to its enclave in East Prussia. In short, the Ukraine is not alone, and Russia has many neutral sympathisers, but few allies.

The war goes on…

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Ukraine War http://www.israelshamir.com/article/ukraine-war/ Sat, 14 May 2022 16:12:40 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3932

The immediate beginning of the trouble was a Geneva summit between two presidents that apparently went wrong. We don’t know what went wrong. The pro-Western Russian officials ran away to Georgia and Israel; they are being replaced by anti-Western officials. This East-West break will not be reversed with ease.

Russians are very similar to Ukrainians. Both are stubborn fighters. Throughout the 20th century they chose different strategies: Russians became internationalists, Ukrainians preferred nationalism. The Ukrainian nationalism was anti-Russian, while Russians harbored no negative feeling towards Ukrainians. It was natural for Ukrainians to flirt with anti-Russian powers. Yet when Ukrainian officials began to declare themselves NATO allies, even the most international Russians became alarmed.

Both Rome’s Pope and Noam Chomsky were capable of understanding the immediate casus belli behind Ukraine: NATO had barked at Putin’s door, and he reacted. In December 2021 Putin diplomatically proposed that NATO withdraw to its mid-1990’s line, and moreover he suggested that peaceful discussion about NATO’s borders might prevent future conflict. Putin proposed an international agreement on NATO’s borders, a political solution that everyone could agree on. This proposal was disregarded with nonchalance; NATO refused to discuss the idea. Putin was rightfully irritated. Further attempts to argue across the West/East divide weren’t successful. The West declined Putin’s politics. And the war began.

NATO began shipping in armaments and ammunition, and deployed their spies. Their intelligence gathering allowed them to sink a big Russian ship named Moscow. They provided the coordinates in real-time for Russian ships and planes. From the very beginning it was clear that Russia fights NATO more than Ukrainians, who they consider to be brothers. This wartime pathos was quite an unexpected development. Putin had always been known as a soft leader; he refused to be drawn into wars. Russia has avoided war for many years under Putin’s rule; and generations of Russians have become used to a peaceful and prosperous life. Suddenly, by circumstances beyond their control, they have been switched to life under war and sanctions.

In hindsight there were plenty of warnings. Russians were blocked from the Olympic games by an international conspiracy of blatant hypocrisy. Russian athletes were accused of doping. Now, Western athletes also use doping, but they know how to get around the rules. The Norwegians claimed they have asthma, and they need special performance-enhancing drugs to heal it. The Americans had excuses of their own, and so did the athletes of many other nations. Russian RUSADA man Mr. Grigori Rodchenkov was bribed by the US to deliver proof of Russian doping. The Russians claim the evidence was falsified. In any case the Russian official defected westward, in a step unseen since the Cold War. Russia was tagged as a pariah throughout the games; she was not allowed to play her national anthem nor display her flag. Russians have been persecuted by the Olympic establishment for generations. There is an undeclared war against Russian athletes; here is the full story. The pattern is undeniable. Russian athletes are routinely penalized for activities that other nations practice with impunity. This has to stop.

Fortunately for everyone, the war in Ukraine has practically dried up. The Ukrainian leadership desperately begs for UN help to keep the war going, as if the Azov Battalion and the rest of the violent, cruel, thuggish militants need to be paid to shoot people. US Democrats have drafted a nearly $40 billion Ukraine War aid package, which was recently single-handedly blocked by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. The Ukraine War has become a political football in the USA. Both the Neocons on the right and the Neoliberals on the left hope to ride this war into Congress.

Russians are unhappy with war as a solution for the Ukraine crisis. They speak of “betrayal”, and that means the political steam behind the offensive is getting thin. Instead, Russians think they can derail the NATO war and the international sanctions by judiciously withholding Europe’s gas and oil. The Arab Oil Embargo brought the US to its knees in the 1970’s using just that strategy. NATO exists to fight wars; bringing war to NATO simply feeds it. The only way to defeat NATO is to starve it. Russia has great quantities of oil, gas and wheat. She produces aluminum, iron, coal, steel, titanium and cheap electricity. The Russian economy has been called “bulletproof” because of its ability to withstand geopolitical shocks.

How exactly are sanctions hurting Russia? Banking freezes are simply pushing Russia into the waiting arms of China, which literally has an unlimited need for Russian energy and commodities. The US Petrodollar is on the cusp of being denominated in Roubles. Stories of boycotts by Twitter, Facebook and Pornhub underscore the ludicrous nature of Western sanctions. “EU blacklists Abramovich, targets energy, luxury sectors…” It seems that only Russia’s Jewish Mafia will be hurt by the international sanctions. The efficacy of Western sanctions is being wildly exaggerated by the Western media and the implacable coming of winter has always been a harbinger of Russian victory. As Biden says, “It will be a very Dark Winter.”

Germany needs Russian energy. It always has. It always will. There is simply no other option for Germany. As the home base of NATO, Germany is in a unique position to forge a lasting peace with Russia. Germans might benefit greatly from increased trade to the East along such routes as the China-Europe Railway Express, but they remain choked by their old millstones. The business of war is no longer profitable. The big players are now supplying China with everything it needs to manufacture the world’s wealth, and Russia is in a unique position to be a major producer. The rest of Europe is also conveniently located to benefit from the new Chinese empire, if they could only cease squabbling long enough to draw a profit. The dying Anglo-American empire is the only entity that profits from division along the Eurasian continent.

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Second Month of Ukraine War http://www.israelshamir.com/article/second-month-of-ukraine-war/ Wed, 30 Mar 2022 16:11:56 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3930

The second month of Ukraine War was quite slow moving. Line of contact hardly moved. Ukrainians fought insistently. After one month, the most important event was not a military victory, but financial one. Russians couldn’t sell their oil and gas for euro or dollars. Putin ordered to sell gas for roubles. This is the end of sanctions: Putin turned sanctions upside down. Europeans complained: they say it’s unfair. They proposed to buy gas but to keep Euros on a closed account. They say it would be fair, but Russians refused this scheme. Rouble is going up, dollar and euro are going down to pre-war values.

The Poles plan to enter the war and snatch Western Ukraine. It was part of Poland before the WW2. Before Stalin joined it to Soviet Ukraine. Now is the time to restore it to Poland, decided Poles. Poles think it is the time; some Russians agree, and some Russians disagree. Russia has no interest to keep Galicia.

Hungarians want to restore Hungary rule over Western Ukraine. And Romania, too! Then Ukraine will be divided between its four neighbours; Poland, Hungary, Romania and Russia.

NATO planned to enter the war; but didn’t after all. Kosovo is not a part of Ukraine, but Serbia claims it. They say, if Russians claim Crimea, they can claim Kosovo. And China can claim Taiwan. (China claims Taiwan but softly.)

Why the war began? The problem started with a Putin’s complaint. The Russian president wanted NATO to roll back from Eastern Europe to old Soviet borders. The Ukrainian President wanted NATO to stand firm. As the result, Ukrainians were supported by NATO. Russia expected it, and began the war.

The atrocities (Ukrainian upon Russian) are a part of Banderite tactics. Even in 1944 they did it many times, and Ukrainians suffered the results. We know of these tactics, though Mr Khrushchev tried to silence the horror. He sided with Ukrainians, and released captive Banderites. Yesterday in Istanbul there were a peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. Surprisingly, the peace talks were successful. The sides agreed to lay off Kiev.

The Russians lost many soldiers; so did the Ukrainians. Now people can’t understand what was the reason for war. Putin is known as hard-line politician; why did he agree to cease-fire? Or maybe he didn’t? In a day or two, we shall know. Today, it’s not clear. Some people claim the agreement of Mr Medinsky with Mr Zelensky is the agreement of Russia and Ukraine; others deny it. Rouble rally is the result, they say.

Very dubious result, anyway. Russia will retreat from this agreement; or will interpret it differently. Rouble is now pegged to gold at 5000 Rouble per gram.

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The Invasion http://www.israelshamir.com/article/the-invasion/ Wed, 09 Mar 2022 17:10:03 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3927

After many requests, Russia invaded Ukraine. We all were mistaken; we thought the invasion wouldn’t happen. But it did. The Russian logic is straightforward: if NATO would come that close to Moscow, Russia won’t be able to defend oneself. Time of arrival of a NATO missile from here is 5 minutes. Russia wanted to have a written promise of Ukraine that it will keep out of NATO. The Ukraine refused. Invasion, called The Special Operation, like in Israel, is supposed to eliminate military structures and to impose a friendly-to-Russia government. The army will fight in silk gloves; it won’t cause damage; residential buildings aren’t bombed. That was the idea. Reality was different.

NATO was supposed to bomb Russia, even next day. (9th of March is an improved version). Putin came first, maybe one day only. The information war started right away. Financial war, as well. NATO had blocked trade with Russia. The US called back all civilian airplanes, in leasing in Russia. Russians had no their own planes: only leased ones. Russia divided its forces into four groups: Z, V, O, U. Group Z pushed Ukrainian forces from Donbas and moved towards Odessa. Another group moved to Kharkov and Kiev. The first group seized water channel that carried water to Crimea. It was blocked since 2014, and Crimea had no water.

Ukrainians threatened Russians with nuclear bombs; Russians threatened NATO with their bombs. NATO states were scared by nukes. Sanctions threatened Russia; Russian counter-sanctions threaten livelihood of the West. Russia is the big producer of wheat and fertilizers; if they are boycotted, countries of the Third World will starve.

The world as we know is falling apart in front of our eyes; Russia is too big and too well integrated, thanks to previous round of sanctions (in 2014). Now, every sanction backfired. Companies rolled sanctions back. Toyota began to trade their cars, after a week break. Russians like premium cars, and they can afford it. Now they have again Toyota Lexus.

President Biden was scared by revelation: in the Ukraine, 19 bioweapon labs were discovered. Imported from the US, their discovery triggered the war. Russian Defence Ministry published documents, related to those labs. The Russian case grew stronger. Victoria Nuland is hesitant: she does not want the Russians to make it public. Biden decided to stop purchases of Russian oil: Europeans are in distress. Their oil is too expensive. They freeze in their houses and European governments advise them to lower temperature by some degrees instead of certifying gas pipeline.

Actual fighting petered out. Just threats. Zelensky said he wants to keep neutrality; and keep NATO outside of the Ukraine. Actually this is what Putin wanted. The sides can come to agreement. Israeli Prime Minister came to Russia and Ukraine to mediate. Two meetings passed inconclusive.

Russia suffered information attack, from all mass media of the West. They tell all nasty stories about Russia, killing civilians and raping women. Ukrainian refugees in Poland number two million; and they annoy natives. Good side: the COVID-19 withdrew its viruses from Ukraine and Russia. In Russia Covid is gone from the news.

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Ukraine: Putin Is Not Scared http://www.israelshamir.com/article/ukraine-putin-is-not-scared/ Wed, 23 Feb 2022 17:09:17 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3925

The 16th of February passed without a hitch; but the Ukraine Crisis did not fade out. Now there is a new date for invasion 20 of February, or soon after. On 19 Feb Saturday, Ukrainian right-wingers attacked Donbas and Donbas authorities began the evacuation of its children and women. Putin tried his missiles with nuclear heads; a part of Russian nuclear triad. Nuclear triad is the Russian fleet, aviation and land-based units, that is the basis of Russian power. Now it was tried; at the same time Ukrainians shelled Russian positions in Donbas. The US President expressed his certainty Putin will invade the Ukraine. But meanwhile Ukrainian Army shelled Donbas over 100 shells.

Donbas asked Russia for recognition. They asked it many times; Russia refused each time. This time, the National Security Council had met in unusual place. And it was broadcast live. Putin asked each one, should we recognize LNR-DNR? And they replied positively. Same day, he signed the recognition treaty. That was the end of 8 years war. Since 2014, until now, people of Donbas were hiding in cellars. Ukrainian army shelled them from time to time. Not any more. The Ukrainian army does not dare to shoot at much bigger Russian Army.

Symbolically, a day before the decision, the German magazine Spiegel found the document containing the promise: “We cannot offer NATO membership to Poland and the others”. New find of files from 1991 supports Russian accusation. For decades, Russia has claimed that NATO’s eastward expansion violated Western commitments after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now it is confirmed.

Russians did not understand why they had hostile neighbours. Especially why the Ukrainians are so hostile. Historically, they were friendly. One church, one language.

The US encouraged hostility of Ukrainians after 1945. Russians gave Ukrainians everything; Ukraine became the most prosperous Soviet republic. It didn’t help; they remained hostile. Russians were the least nationalist folk in the USSR. But the Ukrainians thought it is not sufficient.

In 2014 followers of Stefan Bandera (Quisling) started a mutiny. Since that time, the Ukraine does not know peace. Loyalists are killed, everywhere from Odessa to Kharkov. Loyalists were majority in the East and South of Ukraine. In the East Donbas they formed government. That assumed independence. It is similar to Texas claiming independence. Russians were forced to defend Donbas.

The Ukrainian forces shot at Donbas, and Russians had to shoot back.

Israel expressed their support of Putin. First, the Jews couldn’t support Bandera lovers. Second, Israel and Russia agreed regarding Syria. Not fully agreed, but enough. The Ukrainians thought they elected a Jew as President, and that would offset Bandera. And they were mistaken. They couldn’t denounce Bandera; he was their nationalism’ foundation. Israel has their own Banderas: Begin and Shamir and Yair Schtern. They ruled Israel, but not right away after independence.

Israel supported Putin, but mildly. American Jews listened to Israel. President Biden listened to American Jewish community.

US Sanctions against Russian business do not scare Russian businessmen. They are seen as a challenge. They grow stronger with sanctions. Russia produces wheat many times more than it had before sanctions. Especially, oil and gas products aren’t going be sanctioned. Europe would be bankrupted, otherwise. Europe needs Russian gas and oil. The US gas costs twice as much as the Russian price. That’s why President Putin was not frightened.

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The War That Wasn’t Fought http://www.israelshamir.com/article/the-war-that-wasnt-fought/ Wed, 16 Feb 2022 17:07:42 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3921

The Ukraine crisis bewilders Russians. And Europeans, too. Putin says he does not want to invade Ukraine. NATO has no proof Russia prepares invasion. If Ukraine prepares an attack, it will lose its statehood, Putin says. NATO demands Russia withdraw its 100,000 troops from Ukraine’s vicinity. Russia says the troops are stationed on its territory.

American, Israeli, European media says Russian invasion imminent, and calls its citizens to return home. Russians ask why should they invade now, if they didn’t invade in 2014. Nothing changed to worse since that date. Yes, the things became clear since that time, but not worse.

Every development had been seen through Ukraine prism. Even Kazakhstan had been explained as a part of Putin/Biden plan for Ukraine. The US activated Kazakhstan plot, Russians said; the Kazakhstan plot was Russian, Americans said. Russians said: the US opened Second Front; the US said, Russians added confusion. Only later it was cleared that it was a fight between ethnic subgroops.

The US demanded leave Ukraine inviolate; Russians agreed. The US does not believe it. Putin said that he does not intend to fight Ukraine as Ukrainians and Russians are one nation. Ukrainians said it is two nations.

NATO is convinced Russians want to grab Ukraine. Russians say they do not want. They would do it in 2014; that would be easier. Ukrainian president agreed with NATO. But he changed his mind: he says that such prognoses could be self-fulfilling.

Gas price is the background for this conflict. Green policy brought price hike. Gas became expensive; the Russians offered Europeans gas from pipeline that would . The US offered their own gas instead. That was the trouble behind the Ukraine crisis. The Ukraine suffers from the gas shortage and price rise.

Threat of Russian invasion influences foreign capital flows. Europeans do not want to risk their moneys. Ukraine finds itself without investments. The US called home its diplomats. Israel, NATO states and the UK also called diplomats home. When the tension was at its maximum, the French PM entered the play, he visited Moscow and carried 6 hours long talk with Putin.

That time Biden said he knows for certain Putin will attack at 16 February 2022. From Saturday 12 February England forbade its insurance companies to ensure flights over Ukraine. The sky over Ukraine is incredibly empty- no air liners, no private jets.

Russians are convinced there will be no war, anyway. The US will have to start war themselves. They send weapons to Kiev, hoping Mr Zelensky will employ them. Ukraine unloaded ambassadors, and they went home. Zelensky demands proofs – date and size.

It seems Ukraine and Russia do not want war; only the US and the UK. This is Chinese conclusion; US provocation. 16th came and gone. Chinese conclusion: Russians & Ukrainians do not want to fight.

There were many funny items in news, as media tried to please their owners. One of the best was the claim that Putin waits for Biden to deliver weapons. Now this farce is over; for the last accord Russian Parliament recommended Putin to recognize the split republics. That is the end of the war that was not fought.

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Victoria Annoys Russians, But Properly http://www.israelshamir.com/article/victoria-annoys-russians-but-properly/ Wed, 20 Oct 2021 02:25:04 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3915 Rarely has Russia used this sort of language to a top rep of the major Western powers, but she was sorely pushed. Diplomats are usually polite, but Mrs (“F*ck the EU”) Nuland awoke the beast in her Russian counterparts. Probably it was a mistake to insist that she should be the one to deal with the Russians. As a young woman, Victoria Nuland joined the crew of a Russian fishing trawler, and though she no doubt learned many useful words and expletives, she was not prepared for her talk with Mr Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister.

People said she was visibly distressed after her meeting with Ryabkov; she complained she was ill-treated. Well, she took on a hard mission: to force the Russians to trim Russian mission staff in Washington. The Senators demanded they cut the Russian team by 300 diplomats, she said. She brought two lists of names for culling, and proposed that the first fifty be sent home by January. Instead of considering her kind proposal, Mr Ryabkov said that there aren’t that many Russian diplomats in Washington; there are Russian diplomats at the UN, but that has nothing to do with the US. Ryabkov accused Nuland of being a shell game artist because she tried to pass UN diplomats off as diplomats accredited in Washington. Added Ryabkov:

If you will insist, we are ready to close down all US missions in Russia, and to lock down our remaining offices at Washington. We can terminate all diplomatic interaction; if you want our relations be based on the number of our nuclear missiles, we are ready. But it’s your choice, not ours.

Ryabkov said there was no progress in negotiations; we do not rule out certain escalations, he added. Such a pessimistic press release after the first day of meetings is quite uncommon. But US-Russian relations are uncommonly bad.

Perhaps you’d remember at Geneva Summit there were hopes and expectations of a Grand Slam, of a long-term agreement between the US and Russia. (Our friend Thierry Meyssan called it even A New Yalta and provided lurid details). I didn’t believe it then. I thought I’d get a whisper of such a deal in Moscow or Tel Aviv; and there was no deal. Since Geneva, things didn’t improve much. Nuland didn’t meet with Foreign Minister Lavrov (that would be above her pay grade), but she got a letter from Lavrov explaining that it was impossible to cut the staff, that is unless the US wants to cut it to zero.

The other topics they discussed were also doomed to fail. Mrs Nuland brought up Mali, a North African state where the presence of Russian private military contractors has incited political anger and displeasure. Mali is a part of a whole chain of French ex-colonies. Though they are ostensibly independent, the French still want to keep them. There used to be a solid French military presence; but the Africans got tired of useless French soldiers standing around, and invited the Russians into the Central African Republic, into Mali and elsewhere. Russians enjoy their African adventures; in the Soviet days they fought in Ethiopia and Somalia; now it is time for the sequel. Western media writes of ‘Russian atrocities’, but that is something they have always said. The best soldiers in Africa are Cubans; if they return en masse, they will sweep Africa off its feet. Now the US and its Western allies are trying to keep Russians out of Africa. They tell Russians that they should not dare enter Africa; it is not theirs. But the Russian side responds that the Russian PMC was invited by the government of Mali; neither Bamako, nor Moscow needs a green light from Washington.

Libya was also discussed. It seems that a few American ladies employed by the UN are arranging the forthcoming elections so as to leave the country under American control. There will be Presidential elections in December, and for the legislature in January. Meanwhile the election process has not been working out as well as some Libyans wanted. It is still not clear who has been selected to run for President: will it be Khalifa Haftar, or Seif al Islam Kaddafi, a son of the late leader, or somebody else. The State Department representative expected to get full Russian cooperation while keeping the Russians completely out of oil exploration. This American plan didn’t work out well. Mr Ryabkov said to Mrs Nuland: the US tries to assign guilt over the destruction of Libya to innocent parties. As we know, Libya was destroyed by NATO forces in 2011 while Russia was making another one of its attempts to fit into the Western agenda. However, these days the Russians are less placid and obedient, and not so eager to accept Nuland’s guidance.

Another point was connected with post-Afghanistan arrangements. The Russians refused the US request to extend facilities to their intelligence in Central Asia. It became a problem after the fall of Afghanistan. For a while, the US demanded a temporary military base in Uzbekistan or Tajikistan. It was discussed at Geneva at Biden-Putin summit. In a very typical Russian manner, Putin told Biden: Why do you need a base? Be a guest at our base! Alas, these Russian offers usually mean much less than what they sound like. The US climbed down to a facility for their intelligence; if there is no choice, it could be located at a Russian air base in Central Asia. However, the Russians refused that, too. Tomorrow they will receive Taliban’s delegacy in Moscow, and such intelligence-sharing arrangement would be misconstrued.

Russia took Nuland off its list of sanctioned US officials to allow her to enter Russia; this was the result of a tit-for-tat after the US banned quite a few Russian officials from visiting the US. And although this could do little to help the cases of the other officials, it seems that Mrs Nuland was definitely not the flavour of the month with Russian diplomats. The Foreign Ministry in Moscow was strongly against rescinding the ban, but a powerful if unconstitutional body called Administratsiya Prezidenta insisted on allowing her in. (Here is an interesting short essay explaining its role). More specifically, its Deputy Head Dmitri Kozak lobbied for the unbanning of Nuland; he spoke with her at length and he provided his version of their conversation.

Kozak is an old hand: a native of the Ukraine, a grim-faced KGB/GRU man, Putin’s henchman since early 90’s; he served in a few governments with little noticeable success. He is best remembered by his hare-brained idea of keeping all government deliberations secret from the public. Usually, the Administratsiya Prezidenta keeps out of foreign affairs. Their main occupation is the manipulation of public opinion and election trickery. Now it seems Kozak wants to build up some pro-Western credit in his name, to become an American agent in the power structure. To get Americans to support him at the inevitable mess after Putin day. Or, perhaps, he wants to please Putin by claiming that Russo-American relations are fine. Reality is very different. The relations between the US and Russia are as bad as we can remember; in spite of this Kozak has published a triumphalist communiqué expressing nothing but joy after meeting Mme Nuland.

Just compare the Foreign Ministry’s conclusion: “Ryabkov said he and Nuland made no progress on normalizing the work of their diplomatic missions, which has been hampered by multiple rounds of sanctions, adding that the situation could exacerbate even further. The Russian Foreign Ministry reiterated Moscow’s readiness to respond in kind to any unfriendly U.S. action” and Kozak’s conclusion: “a thorough and constructive dialogue took place regarding the settlement of the conflict in the south-east of Ukraine. They confirmed that the Minsk agreements remain the only basis for a settlement. Nuland admitted that progress on the Donbass issue is possible only with the recognition of its special status.”

Kozak prepared himself for playing the American fiddle years ago. After a coup in Moldova in 2019, Kozak said: “In the current situation, Russia, the European Union and the United States have taken a common position to support the democratic process in Moldova”. “This is a vivid example that on basic values we have more in common than disagreements,” added Dmitry Kozak. This is the same attitude that caused Russia to surrender Libya, the same attitude that brought the USSR to collapse. These old KGB blokes are keen on fitting into the Western narrative, and for such a purpose they will always shortchange their employers.

A few months ago, when the US began advanced planning for accepting the Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, Kozak sounded the trumpet. He said

the Ukraine is entitled to join NATO. This a shocking claim; Putin was always against it. The presence of NATO tanks in Eastern Ukraine is as big a danger for Russia as Russian tanks in Texas would be for the US. Russia always considered NATO in the Ukraine almost casus belli; now Mr Kozak doesn’t mind it. What is even more odd, Kozak agreed with the US joining the Normandy Format (Russia, France, Germany and the Ukraine); France and Germany were always against it, and Russia, too, was strongly against it. Did Kozak discuss it with France and Germany (doubtful) or did he just shoot his mouth off trying to please Nuland? Apparently, the Russians at the top speak in different voices; one is the voice of Foreign Ministry, another is the voice of the Administratsiya Prezidenta. But who decides?

As time goes by, pro-US voices in the Russian power structure generally lose their volume and appeal. People like Kozak want to fit themselves into the Western agenda, but the people who are in charge of foreign affairs, gas, oil, nuclear power and weapons are aware of more urgent needs. Right after Victoria Nuland’s departure, US-Russian relations quickly got worse. The NATO head office in Brussels declared a few Russian diplomats ‘personas non grata’, and in response, the Russian Foreign Ministry sent home all NATO representatives in Russia. At the same time, the US began their campaign for taking Ukraine and Georgia into NATO.

I am as much for friendship between the US and the Russian people as you are, but historically speaking, our best way to friendship is Cold War. “Good fences make good neighbours.” We are already so dangerously close to ‘one world government’ that only fiercely independent nationalistic antagonism and hostility can save us from global dictatorship. If the relations were to improve, Mr Kozak and suchlike would sacrifice ordinary Russians on the altar of their Common Values with the US and EU. Only bad relations can hold back the Green New Deal and give us a chance to survive.

With the assistance of Paul Bennett.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review.

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Things Go Awry http://www.israelshamir.com/article/things-go-awry/ Tue, 12 Oct 2021 02:23:41 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3912

An interesting coincidence: the beginning of October ushered in a double crisis: the first collapse of the Internet and the final failure of the Green Economy. Facebook employees used saws and axes to get into their working places, for the smart doors stubbornly refused to yield the way and their badges had lost their magic touch. It seems the Internet trouble had been initiated by some unknown forces outside of Facebook. These forces have access to the inner working of the Internet. Perhaps it was military; or some obscure technicians guarding Internet secrets. They proved their power: even Facebook’s domain was placed up for sale. Mark Zuckerberg could not do it, I was told. Was it a blackmailer’s threat to global finance? Or an attempt to deflect Congressional hearings? Perhaps it was a simple demonstration of naked power.

At the same time, the first blow of winter revealed the inability of green energy to heat our homes and energise industry. Nature proved its abilities: all of a sudden, Europe’s winds refused to move the turbines. An unusual calm settled in the North, as if the winds were confined by Aeolus in his bag. Energy prices skyrocketed. The excellent future planned for mankind, all digital, internet-based and free of fossil remains, failed to materialise. Instead of continuing our march towards the dreadful New Normal, we shifted back to our troublesome but familiar normality when things went awry. The cowboy hat of Big Tech was too large for its head. Mercifully, this misfortune occurred well before the whole of mankind had been railroaded into smart dwellings heated by the mischievous wind. Otherwise, last weekend could have been the end of Homo Sapiens: we would have frozen outside, unable even to pass through the smart doors.

An energy crisis combined with an Internet failure is very dangerous. Why don’t we encounter extra-terrestrials? Here’s a possible answer: every sapient civilisation destroys itself before it achieves the capability to venture to the stars. Intelligent creatures tend to overestimate their thinking abilities; instead of sticking to known technologies and implementing small improvements, they want to make a giant leap forward. The results are gloomy, as we learn now.

It turns out that overriding smart doors requires a sturdy axe; perhaps green policy and green politicians should be subjected to the same solution. Some energy prices are incompatible with human life.

The Green New Deal turned out to be a quixotic fantasy. We aren’t ready to switch to futuristic sources of energy. Not now, anyway. We might as well stop calling oil, gas and coal by this fancy “fossil” name: they are combustible fuels. The war on combustibles, led by the Rockefeller Fund and joined by young futurists, was extremely successful, perhaps too successful for its own good. Europe and North America, as well as China and Russia have declared their desire to achieve a carbonless world. The contrary opinion, namely that man-made climate change aka global warming is just a hoax, has been officially banned.

China was the first to make the U-turn. They were already decommissioning coal mines in Inner Mongolia when they discovered that they need energy to power their plants. Surprise! Now they are in a national emergency in winter, forced to re-activate mothballed coal mines. The setup for the crisis was the closure of coal mines in Mongolia for globalist political reasons, and the completion of the crisis was stopping the import of Australian coal over a political dispute. Apparently, China’s leaders had been persuaded that the climate is rapidly becoming warmer, and that the Green New Deal means they no longer have to power their factories and heat their homes. It turned out that the globalists were premature, and they are switching back to proven energy solutions.

However, Europe is stubborn. Europeans have been convinced that there is no other way; they have to give up the usual fuels and switch to “clean” ones. Even if they would freeze to death, they will stick to clean energy. The German Green Party leader Annalena Baerbock was asked where she would get energy if the winds were becalmed and the sun was covered by clouds? (It happened this September). Electricity will continue to come from the sockets; but it will be carbon-neutral electricity, she said. “Where should the electricity come from? Of course, further from the socket and of course further from the factories, through the power lines that we have. But this electricity must be climate-neutral in the future.” She doesn’t seem to understand that it takes energy to create electricity.

The Greens are well-intentioned, but indoctrinated and opinionated. In Ghost Busters (1984), a Green activist shuts off the electricity to Ghostbusters’ HQ and disaster befalls New York City. Likewise, the Greens are actively destroying Europe’s traditional energy supplies. Probably it will spell the end of the Green Deal; that is, once people understand that this is a suicidal course.

Recently, natural gas, a convenient source of energy, was subjected to steep price rises over purely political manipulations. Instead of paying so much, the Germans could use Russian natural gas. The Russians have completed laying down the Nord Stream 2, a pipeline for natural gas that leads directly to Germany. If it became operative, the price for natural gas will go down and the German people will be warm this coming winter. But first, NS 2 has to be licensed; it has to satisfy some political conditions that were established some time ago in order to block the NS 2 from delivering cheap gas. Politicians demand that the pipeline must have more than one owner, because it was built by Russia’s Gazprom. Furthermore, they say Poland and Ukraine must be allowed to voice their objections before cheap Russian gas is permitted to cross the German border. Yet Poland and Ukraine are Gazprom’s competitors! If it depends on their permission, no gas will ever come via NS 2; rather it will continue to be delivered for much higher price via strongly anti-Russian Ukraine and Poland.

Putin broke the rise in gas prices by expressing his confidence that the problem will be resolved soon. If he had pointed out that it is far from certain, the price would stayed sky-high, bringing yet more dividends to Gazprom investors. Did Putin act against his (and Russia’s) interests out of pure altruism? Well, no. But Putin wants a healthy, sustainable business, bringing stable profits every year; on the other hand, German and European negotiators want natural gas prices intolerably high, forcing citizens to switch to electricity. Russia could profit a lot today, but there would be nothing for tomorrow. Putin prefers to have satisfied gas customers in Europe.

Europeans could have cheaper energy, both for heating and driving, but their leaders won’t allow that. They decided that energy prices will be high, very high; so you’ll feel every degree of Centigrade/Fahrenheit in your pocket. Putin stated the Europeans miscalculated when they decided to abandon traditional fuels. Perhaps he said so out of kindness, because there is not the slightest doubt: the European and North American leaders knew that ‘clean’ fuels are much more expensive and much less reliable, and still they chose it.

Could it be explained by their hostility to Russia? None of the countries blessed by natural gas and oil (Iran, Venezuela, Russia) are favoured allies of the EU and UK. It seems European leaders are determined to freeze out any houses that are being heated by natural gas. UK regulators rejected Shell’s plans to develop the North Sea gasfield, and Shell is not a Russian or Iranian company. My explanation: they want to kill off oil and gas; and they do not mind the frozen citizens. In the UK, the fuel bills will rise by £400; he who can’t afford it, let him suffer.

This political energy crisis is worldwide. One reason is the huge government purchases of unreliable solar and wind technology. Another reason: combustible energy is underinvested. For quite a few years, energy companies believed that it isn’t worth it to spend money on traditional fuels; they were told that combustibles are on their way out. Now perhaps they will think again. Now that we realize we still need gas and oil, we better start investing in Russia because these products are only found in the far-away Arctic wilderness. It takes time and money to develop new gas fields.

The problem is that East Europeans like to cheat the Russians. They know the Russians are hated by the US and EU elites; so they believe they will get better results through litigation. They keep moving the goalposts to ensure their victory. The Russians started to build NS 2 a few years ago; to counter this development, the gas directive was applied to NS 2 in 2020. It was a peculiar decision: the directive was not around when Russians began to build the pipeline. But East European leaders are extremely dishonest. Advocate General Michal Bobek recently called upon the court to change its decision. Will it, or won’t it?

If the EU will not allow Russians to run the pipeline as they see fit, perhaps the Europeans won’t get any natural gas at all. And then, it will be this very cold winter that will decide for Europeans. The question is, do they prefer to stay well heated, or do they prefer to screw the Russians even at the price of freezing?

Russians also accept the idea of global warming. They think that within the Green New Deal, they will be able to showcase their mechanical talents, their higher education. It is more suitable for them than just selling oil like Saudi Arabians do. However, it is far from certain that sophisticated jobs will actually appear. Russia may be quite cold, but it has a great advantage in the national heating systems built in the Soviet days. It is warmer in Moscow apartments than in Jerusalem in the winter. In Israel, winter is cold; Moscow is better -as I discovered years ago.

Russia is beset by Ukraine and Poland, two very hostile neighbor states, yet Putin still wants to play ball with them. As winter sets in, very soon we shall see if the regulators persist. In the end of October, there will be the conference in Glasgow; and we shall see just how much the Europeans are ready to pay to ‘save the climate’.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review.

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