Fredwitz on War

As this illustrious columncharges resolutely into the future, a few thoughts on geopolitical doings may, or for that matter may not, be of interest. I’ll try.

Regarding the war in Ukraine, massively different  understandings exist. In   America and countries controlled by it, it is believed that Russia invaded without provocation to begin reconstituting the Soviet empire, the Ukrainians are bravely fighting to save their country, and eventually all of Europe and the West must give them the weapons they need to oppose totalitarianism. Friends of mine in Washington are  passionate about this and display Ukrainian flags in their yards.

Most of the world takes a far more favorable view of Russia, refusing to take sides, among them China, India, Mexico, almost all of South America, central Asia, ASEAN, the Arab world,and black Africa. Many countries continue trading with Russia. Recently 130 countries attended Russia’s Economic conference in St. Petersburg. Russia is a major source of grain, petroleum, gas, fertilizer, these wanted by much of the planet.

Further,, the Ukraine looks, from outside of the Usasphere, to be just another of America’s unending imperial wars. If you follow news from non-Western sources, you see that nobody believes America’s protestations about spreading democracy, fighting crime, promoting human rights, and so on.

Another reason, frequently mentioned in the international blogosphere, is the legacy of colonialism. conservative friends poopoo this, having no grasp of its emotional power. The countries supporting America against Russia are the former colonial powers. The countries declining to oppose Russia are those colonized. Many have been militarily attacked by the former colonizers: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya. They have noticed this. In former times most of the world outside Europe has been invaded, occupied, and exploitedd. They remember.

The hostility is very real. Further, the Usasphere almost seems deliberately to encourage the animus. For example, recently a Romanian official  made what he apparently thought was a clever remark likening Africans to monkeys. This went viral. An African official, maybe Zambian, said in close paraphrase, “The West enslaved us for centuries, and now they want to lecture us on human rights?” One of the major hacks running Europe, I forget which, recently said that Europe was a garden and the rest of the world a jungle. This also went viral. Websites from Latin America often say ironically, “Aquí en la jungla….”

Outside of the New York Times and the wall Street Journal, students of geopolitics see the US as having deliberately promoted the current war. In 1991 when the USSR collapsed, there were 16 countries in NATO which immediately began expanding eastward in obvious military encirclement of Russia with, today, thirty-one countries. When the American coup in Ukraine in 2014 put an American puppet in Kiev, if Russia had not annexed Crimea the American fleet would have been in Sevastopol, US bases in Crimea, and US nuclear missiles eight minutes from Moscow. Washington was simultaneously encouraging accession of Georgia to NATO, which would have put American forces on Russia’s border and an  a thin Azerbaijan away from the Caspian. Russia said repeatedly that it would not allow entry of Ukraine in NATO, the US kept pushing, and thus the war. In a sentence, the war is a carefully planned American imperial enterprise.

Have you heard this on CNN? How many Americans have ever heard of Sevastopol? Or, probably the Caspian?

The effects of the war?  By cutting Europe off from the cheap Russian pipeline gas on which its economies depended, and forcing it to buy pricey American LNG, the war both tightens American control over Europe, makes lots of money for US petroleum companies,and makes European industry less competitive. It also ensures that Europe will buy many tens of billions of dollars worthof American arms. From Washington’s point of view, what’s not to like?

So, while Bidenites offer the war as a courageous defense against barbarism, much of the world sees it as Washington’s using Europe and Ukraine in an attempt to weaken Russia before moving on to China, as officials in Washington have admitted. China is quite aware of this. So, hundreds of thousands of dead Russians and Ukrainians. Perhaps more important in the long run, Washington has succeeded in causing Russia to shift its commerce eastward, selling to China and India and beginning to isolate the Usasphere. Europe may well regret this.

Now, the Grand, Indomitable, Horrific, and Really Scary Motingator Ukrainian Counter-offensive: It is a botch, as anyone familiar with America’s forgn policy and its military would have expected. Here it is, step by step, following Fred’s First Law,  an American war begins with overestimating American power, underestimating the enemy, and misunderstanding the kind of   war it is getting into.

Step one: Overestimate America’s capacities. NATO’s superior technology, armament, tactics, and training would overwhelm the Russians. But didn’t.

Step Two: Underestimate the enemy. Russian training, morale, and weaponry could not possibly stand up to Ukrainians trained and armed by NATO,so the Slavic horde would collapse. But didn’t.

Step Three: Give the Russians plenty of time to build heavily fortified defensive lines. They did. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Step Four: Give up any hope of surprise. Of course, there was never any hope of surprise. Satellites do that.

Step Five: With half-trained troops using many cast-off weapons from other countries with which they are barely familiar, attack carefully prepared defenses across open terrain against an enemy with control of the air and massive superiority in artillery.

Step Six: Express surprise at the outcome.

If you do not believe that Washington runs on equal parts of arrogance, fantasy, and incompetence, here is former CIA director and US Central Command chief General David Petraeus who predicted on June 6, two days into Kiev’s southern offensive, that “the Russians will prove to be more brittle than the expectation is” when faced with Western-supplied armour, also claiming that Moscow’s troops were poorly trained, equipped and led and exhausted after a year on the front line without a break.”

Petraeus is not the only appalling dunderhead in the Miraculous City, but he is quite a good dunderhead. A freaking CIA director is clueless about exactly what he is supposed to know about?

America’s hugely expensive intelligence agencies catastrophically failed to estimate the military capacities of both the Ukraine and Russia, the effectiveness of weapons used by both sides, the weakness of the Russian economy, the degree of support for the war among the Russian population, the degree of world support for Washington, the effectiveness of sanctions, and the degree to which the confiscation of Russian financial reserves would drive the world away from the dollar.  Washington’s financial sanctions were going to bring Moscow to its knees. Remember Biden crowing that “the ruble is rubble”?

As the war goes increasingly badly for Washington, the hawks double down, sending more potent weapons. Desperation grows in the Potomac bubble. Huge egos are on the line, elections and, probably, the future of the Empire. How crazy will they get?

In Washington, particularly dangerous are the aged, sometimes senescent draft-dodging pussies of the ancient war on Vietnam, now turned into Depends Napoleons. Among them, Biden, Bolton, Trump, Bush II. To avoid libel charges, I will do nothing to identify this example.

Leadership? In America’s  colonies, Ursula Borderline and Stoltenberg seem pedestrian, limited, better suited to being motel managers than war leaders. Zelensky is the only one who seems to have brains, but combined with the character of an Amway salesman. Compare these to Lavrov, Putin, Xi Jin Ping, Zakharova, all smart.

Federal outletss, such as the NYT,  the WSJ, the Wapo,  the networks and social media, displayed their unequaled capacity for not acquiring information. They have told us:The Russians were out of missiles. Except they weren’t. The Russians were out of artillery rounds. Except they weren’t. The Russian population was turning against Putin. Except it wasn’t. Russia was retreating before the Ukrainians. Except they weren’t. And so on.


We come, gasping, to Taiwan

As many in Washington have explicitly said, the purpose of the Ukraine is to cripple Russia and even break it into several countries under American control before moving on to China, Washington’s real target. The same approach is being used that was used with the Ukraine: push toward a “red line” that China cannot ignore until Beijing either surrenders, which it won’t, or fights.

Why does Washington care about Taiwan? A major, major reason is that Taiwant has TSMC, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest and most advanced chip fab. America cannot make the most advanced chips, Taiwan and South Korea being supreme in this as the technological center of gravity of the world moves eastward. Before Trump started the “trade” war, actually a new Cold War, TSMC sold chips to any who wanted them. Washington realized that it could not compete with China in many fields if the Chinese could buy chips from Taiwan (also Chinese, note). Thus the urgent need to control Taiwan.

And of course a victorious war against Beijing would cement American hegemony, the purpose underlying all of everything.

Thus, though the American public is not being informed, Washington is rapidly and systematically doing things that can only be preparation for war with China. Among them, Getting Japan to rearm. Selling nuclear submarines to Australia to Deter China. Running the Australia-UK-US naval treaty aimed at China (AUKUS). Running the Quad naval treaty (US-India-Japan-Australia). Arming Taipei with massive arms sales. Opening or reopening four military bases in the Philippines. Getting basing rights in Papua-New Guinea. This is rapid preparation for war with China, boys and girls.

What is going through the minds of the China hawks? Do they think China will back down, as they apparently expected that Russia would in the Ukraine? Do they expect a quick, decisive victory as they always do, though their own think-tank Rand has said they would likely lose? Do they have no exit strategy or plan B as they never do, in case things do not go as expected? Do they have any idea of the effects of starting a world war with a country that supplies almost everything to almost everywhere? Stay tuned. News at eleven.

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Comments 27

  • The pic you have of Ukraine is not what I see happening. Russia is accomplishing one thing, his own destruction.

    There is a lot of BS coming out of Russia, and almost all of it is little more than lies.

    • Can you provide any examples of Ukrainian military successes? If they were winning, there would be no need to keep sending more guns and money.

    • Quartermaster
      July 1, 2023 at 1:37 am
      The pic you have of Ukraine is not what I see happening. Russia is accomplishing one thing, his own destruction.
      There is a lot of BS coming out of Russia, and almost all of it is little more than lies.

      Half a year later. Fred’s thoughts are still spot on.

      Your comment on the other hand not so much.

  • Insane stuff. Scroll down to “This is what the Ukrainians are facing as they approach the Russian lines.” 4 days old 6/30/23:

  • While I agree that the “center” of US politics has been trying to re-state the Cold War from the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and your comments in general about Ukraine and that general area to include Georgia I think you have been a bit flippant in dismissing Red China.

    I have long believed that Russia is a natural ally with the “West” against Red China. Red China is a real and ongoing threat to the Philippines and Viet Nam. I cannot see any improvement to the world were Red China to invade and capture Formosa.

  • I was surprised when I read Russia was invading eastern Ukraine. Why would poor Russia, gdp per capita of $15,444, want to take over an even more desperately poor Ukraine, with a gdp per capita of $4,349? Even more surprising is why would a young person from Ukraine want to risk their life defending Ukraine, one of the most corrupt nations on the planet (global corruption ranking of 126)? Not that Russia is any better: its corruption ranking is 125. Essentially, the Ukraine and Russia war is like a ravenous battle between two starving dogs over table scraps.

  • Well, Fred, you seem to have attracted an eccentric flock of trolls. As usual, your piece is spot on. You forgot to mention one important issue. The psychopaths in DC and their sycophants are on a path to nuclear war, which would turn the biosphere into radioactive toast. Any ideas on how we can keep that from happening?

  • Nicely done as usual Fred. I’m 73, still with my marbles and not impaired like my current POTUS. I want to live long enough to see Susan Rice, Jake Sullivan and weasel mouth/Baghdad Bob 2.0 that would be Adm. Kirby, be tried and executed by hanging on a gallows overlooking Arlington National Cemetery. Those who have served valiantly and then died for this country, need to see these rats properly disposed of. Maybe to add Jill Biden to the execution for her elder abuse of her husband.

  • All I know is that whatever is going on in Ukraine is none of Washington’s business and not worth one American life or dollar.

    • What is going on in Ukraine was caused deliberately by Washington, in order to push Washingtons’ own aims of Hegemony and destruction of Russia. Check up on Victoria Nuland, Biden, John McCain et al, in Kiev during the destructive Maiden colour revolution; consider the billions of $$ sent to Ukraine via Arms manufacturers. this a war of Washington vs Russia, using Ukraine as a patsy, as it has in so many other places.

  • “Further, the Ukraine looks, from outside of the Usasphere, to be just another of America’s unending imperial wars. If you follow news from non-Western sources, you see that nobody believes America’s protestations about spreading democracy, fighting crime, promoting human rights, and so on.”
    Replace “America’s” with “Washington’s” and it’s accurate. Very few Americans approve of what its insane government is doing today, foreign or domestic.

    • Then why dont you do something? Given the vast sums given by Biden to this war, and the crumbling state of America, why am I not seeing mass demonstrations;, huge rebellions. YOu are sitting ducks to get hit with nuclear weapons, yet you sit still mumbling about “very few Americans approve of what its government is doing”. They are supposedly your servants acting in your name. If you dont approve of them killing civilians and children, get up and scream, make a mark, make sure they know and the world knows, that they are not acting for Americans. But all I hear from Americans is the Sound of Silence. Very very loudly.

  • And the formula for more in a neverending string of forever wars has been revealed. Seems no one has given any thought to the damage that the US could have done to russia by placing level 4 biolabs on Russian borders akin to placing nukes on the borders. Putin has proved this to be true. We are not on the threshold of nuke war…we are at the precipice of biological war. They used world populations as Guinea pigs, ie covid to see how well it would work. And it worked spectacularly. Eyes turn to russia to rob it of it nationalism and its commitment to the orthodox church and God. Remove God and we win. Not gonna happen.

  • The propaganda flowing from both sides is effective. I come closer to Fred’s version, not because he has any better sources, but because he has a certain feel for war, and anything that comes out of DC is bullshit so I must find a better source of information. In 50 years some historian will sell a book on the Stupid Wars in World History and this will be one of the stupidest.
    If you don’t like the price of the war so far, wait till it really cranks up. It can get a lot worse and lot more expensive in blood and treasure. I’m happy to see media is revisiting the grand measure of the holy body count to post on the scoreboard so we can see whose winning. The guy behind the scoreboard accepts bribes.
    And, if you are unhappy with the cost of the war, wait til we get to pay for reconstruction.

  • Depends Napoleons.
    I’ve been reading you for a long time, and know about your visual issues. May I offer editing support, free of charge? I’m an experienced editor with professional credits.

  • I dont know whether a few of the first of these comments are trolls or just genuinely stupid people. Although I have a problem working out what they would be doing here.

    Just about all of your record of events leading up to the war in Ukraine is excellent Fred. I have been following events between Russia and the collective West, especially the 5-eyes-AngloSaxon ones, since the Sochi Olympics, and the attack by Georgia under the maniac Saakashvili on Russian PeaceKeepers.
    The main reason for the Russian move under the Special Military Operation was not only that the Russians of Eastern Ukraine, who had voted en masse for the President who was deposed in the coup d’etat backed by America, but that Ukraine then turned on them for resisting the take over of Crimea – no way was that proud locale going to have American ships docked where Russian Navy had held pride of place for decades.
    The regions of the Donbass refused to acknowledge the US puppet government in Kiev, and thus it turned on Donbass with violence. Missiles were launched, the Donbass formed its own militia, and Ukraine began launching missiles on civilians, which it does to this day. It killed over 16,000 Russians of East Ukraine, in Donbass, including over 300 children. There are photos, there are interviews to support this, and they are horrific.
    Putin did everything he could. He even went with the Minsk Accords, which the enemy had no intention of implementing, trying for peace. For 8 long years he tried. But satellites, as you say, see all, eventually, and clearly massive fortifications were being built by Kiev at the Donbass border. He had no choice but to invade, to protect absolute bloodshed of millions, and a launching base for NATO to attack Russia.
    This is the full explanation, and is available with proofs on the Internet, if one searches.

    • Pamela: You have some good points from Russia’s perspective. But, if you are Russian, as the phrases in your text suggests, advocating for Russia will not help Russia in this war. Both Russia and the U.S. will only become strong again, by transforming themselves into a high-trust and cohesive nations. Russia really did have a real external threat when Napoleon Bonaparte marched his Grand Armee against Russia. But, then and now, as Russia’s many and powerful writers in the 19th century pointed out, it’s main threat during that 19th century was internal. China, in the last 30 years realized this and has focused its resources by attempting to build a high-trust nation, by changing the way its rural population thinks. You see it in signs and posters throughout China. That’s true progress.

  • Hi Fred. Not that the Russians didn’t notice what the US has been up to. This is from Sergei Glaziev in 2014: “To maintain their world dominance, the US is provoking another war in Europe. A war is always good for America. They even call the Second World War which killed 50 million people in Europe and Russia, a good war. It was good for America because the US emerged from this war as the world’s leading power. The Cold War which ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union was also good for them. Now the US again wants to maintain its leadership at the expense of Europe.
    US leadership is being threatened by a rapidly rising China. The world today is shifting to yet another cycle, this time political. This cycle lasts centuries and is associated with the global institutions of regulatory economics. We are now moving from the American cycle of capital accumulation to an Asian cycle. This is another crisis that is challenging US hegemony.
    To maintain their leading position in the face of competition with a rising China and other Asian countries Americans are starting a war in Europe. They want to weaken Europe, break up Russia, and subjugate the entire Eurasian continent. That is, instead of a development zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok, which is proposed by President Putin, the US wants to start a chaotic war on this territory, embroil all Europe in a war, devalue to European capital, write off its public debt, under the burden of which the US is already falling apart, write off what they owe to Europe and Russia, subjugate our economic space and establish control over resources of the giant Eurasian continent.
    They believe that this is the only way they can maintain their hegemony and beat China …. Russia and Ukraine are the victims of this war which is being fomented by the Americans. But Europe is also a victim because the war aims to target European welfare and to destabilise Europe. Americans expect the European capital and brain drain to America will continue. That’s why they are setting all of Europe on fire. It’s very strange that European leaders are going along with them.”
    That’s right, nine years ago. And what part of that hasn’t come true?

  • Absolutely perfect column Fred! Right down to crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s. Strange collection of trolls, the only life form lower than lawyers & Congresscritters. I have a theory that they may just be old drinking buddies of yours from your days doing police & military reporting in the Empire of Lies, come back to haunt you for always being right-on –no matter the topic. A kind of inside joke. In any event, better half a wit than none, I always say. Keep ’em comin’ if you please.

  • It’s almost as tho the Russian’ “slow-and-methodical” approach … avoiding any swift conclusion to the war … is buying time for China to ‘gird its loins’.

    • Actually, Putin’s slow and methodical approach is realistically reported to be that he is concerned with not killing the Russian population there, especially in the Donbas region that borders directly on Russia.

  • The first rule for any and all misadventures is to follow the money!
    The USA is owned and controlled by the MICC, the “Military Industrial Congressional Complex”.
    Including the evilest war-making institution, the CIA, the cost to the country is staggering and unknown, as in addition to the public funding for war of “about” $800 Billion the off the books cash to the CIA and whatever, is without a doubt likely at least double the known number.
    The Defense Department should really be renamed the “War Department”.

    The tragedy is the waste of blood and treasure of us and the invaded countries where we have LOST in abject failure every misadventure debacle we went into. The list is well known. Serbia, Vietnam, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, etc. Libya was a beautiful country with an almost perfect form of government, a sort of benevolent dictator with lots of money. We took 1,250,000 ounces of gold from their central bank. Where it wound up is for sure a closely guarded secret.

    The MSM of course NEVER reports on many details of the debacles. Not well known that the CIA went into Kazakhstan to get control of the heroin business to make money. They have been in the dope business for decades. Daddy Bush was running the CIA sending guns out and dope into Central and South America out of Mena Arkansas When Bill Clinton was the attorney general for Arkansas and was ordered to keep the state patrol away from the airport.

    It is somewhat well known that the Ukraine debacle was begun by the Obama/Biden regime using the neocon warmonger hawk Victoria Nuland as the front person for the regime change
    that put our stooge in to be the controller of that end of the money laundering affair there.

    Hunter Biden was on the board of a gas company there, and Joe Biden, prominently, on camera sending a couple of BILLION over there only on the condition, that he boasted ON CAMERA, that they had to fire the prosecutor investigating Hunter’s crimes there or he would not send the next Billion over. These gifts of really big money are NEVER done for free, so the commission kicked back to the now well-known Biden crime family is anyone’s guess, but for sure it was a LOT.
    The new revelations of the Chinese giving the Bidens $10 Million is just another bit of grifting.

  • I neglected to compliment Senor Fred for this very perceptive article for which much thanks is given. I have Been enjoying his missives now for years.

  • I dispute the claim that the rest of the world takes a more favorable view of Russia.
    Most of the rest of the world disapproves of Russia’s actions.
    Most of the remainder has taken a more or less neutral position.
    In fact there are only 5 countries on Russias side.
    North Korea – A paragon of compassion.
    Iran – Islamic extremist.
    Belorus – Don’t know much about why.
    Venezuela – Communist Country.
    Cuba – Another Communist Country.
    This list may have changed, but these are the ones I last heard of.

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