Ukraine Update 11/18/21
This post will address several topics, but they all revolve around the conflict in Ukraine. Let’s start with the aftermath of the “Russian missile lands in Poland” hoax. Antiwar.com has an interesting article that asks a very relevant question, related to our post yesterday about the divisions within the US regime:
Yesterday I wrote, regarding the initial narrative of a Russian missile landing in Poland:
The US initially was on board—AP quickly cited “sources” to the same effect, that the missile was Russian.
That all changed, virtually spinning on a dime. Zhou himself took time out from the G20 festivities to very quickly announce that “US tracking” had shown that the missile was not launched by Russia. The rest of the West pretty quickly fell into line, having gotten the word from the top.
I argued that the “source” in question was certainly not a source within the US military, and that the US military reacted in a state of alarm to defuse this hoax narrative that Ukraine and the UK, in particular, were propagating. The Saker points out a similar dynamic, this morning. The post is virulently anti-Polish, and thus focuses on the Polish reaction, which tracks what I wrote—Poland quickly backtracked. More quickly than some other nations:
Initially, it appears that some Polish politicians wanted to immediately use this incident to create even more tensions, but the rather tepid reaction of the US sent them a clear message: the US is not interested in participating in what would be a truly ridiculous (and potentially very dangerous) PSYOP or false flag.
The Poles got the message and soon they also agreed that the missile was Ukrainian.
In fact, of course, the characterization of the US reaction as “tepid” misses the real point. The US presented two diametrically opposed reactions. The initial reaction, quoted in the AP and credited to a “senior U.S. intelligence official”—one presumes that means CIA—claimed that the missile was Russian. That reaction was quickly followed by a complete repudiation of that hoax—coming from Zhou personally. That second—a repudiation of the hoax—was the message that the Poles got. They responded accordingly, once their master had spoken.
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This is the point at which Antiwar.com follows up. Antiwar first points out that the hoax was clearly intended to gin up war hysteria:
AP's source claimed Russian missiles hit Poland. This seemed calculated to set off a frenzy and trigger NATO articles to create a wider war. Why won't the AP tell us who the falsifying source is?
More specifically: WW3 hysteria:
World War III was trending on Twitter.
Antiwar provides documentation for the way the hysteria was fanned by the usual suspects, even as the US military was scrambling to defuse it all. Antiwar focuses on a key issue:
AP rules say reporters can only grant anonymity to a source if “the source is reliable”. But if they prove themselves to not be reliable, shouldn’t the anonymity be rescinded?
So, who is this “senior US intelligence official” who propagated a false narrative? Antiwar contacted AP, but all they got was an affirmation that the narrative was, in fact, false:
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — In earlier versions of a story published November 15, 2022, The Associated Press reported erroneously, based on information from a senior American intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity, that Russian missiles had crossed into Poland and killed two people. Subsequent reporting showed that the missiles were Russian-made and most likely fired by Ukraine in defense against a Russian attack.
If you try to pull up the original AP hoax narratives, you’ll be redirected to the “correction.” The question remains:
Why is the AP still protecting a source it now says fed it false information?
In my piece “Should Media Expose Sources Who Lied to Them?” from 2017, I argued that not exposing falsifying sources is “like having a loaded gun lying around.” When a crisis happens, “a government source wanting to smear a foreign government, or even help provoke war, has the mechanisms to do so without fear of consequence or accountability.” The source can hide behind anonymous quotes, and their media contact hides behind anonymous sources. Both are effectively off the hook.
The solution is for falsifying sources to be unmasked so we get accountable speech.
Part of the bargain of anonymity is truthfulness. Why should a serious media outlet protect the anonymity of a source who just fed it false information? So they can do it again?
This is the state of affairs with regard to the MSM. It is, to a significant degree, an agent of State information control. However, one thing is probably true—the AP characterization of its source as a “senior US intelligence official” is probably entirely accurate. If the source had been a low level official we might well know already who was responsible. Fortunately, in the internal war between State/CIA and DoD, cooler heads at DoD won this round. The dynamics of it all remain concerning.
Moon of Alabama explains what’s going on in Ukraine, graphically:
Quoting first from the Russian MoD:
One depot of artillery armament, delivered by western countries and prepared for being sent to troops, has been destroyed.
The redeployment of the reserve forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), and the delivery of foreign armament to operations areas have been frustrated.
The last sentence describes the real purpose of the attacks on the energy systems.
The lack of energy is degrading the railway network that brings weapons from the west to the eastern front. It makes redeployment of units from one front section to another very difficult and time consuming. It will give the Russian forces the advantage when they change the Schwerpunkt of their attacks from one corner of the frontline to another.
Another effect of the strikes on the electricity systems and the blackouts in the big cities that follow them is a renewed stream of refugees that will want reach western Europe. It will over time change the public opinion and the political priorities of those countries. If they fail to end the war they will have to carry the burden.
Yesterday Mark Milley kept repeating the Zhou regime’s mantra: We’re all in in support of Ukraine for “as long as it takes.” Does Europe share that view? And to the extent they do share that view for now, how long will that resolve last?
Expanding on Moon’s snapshot of the current situation, Will Schryver offers this thread:
There are increasing signs the narrative field is being sown to condition the public mind for Zelensky's predestined fall from grace.
Ukrainian leadership is exuding desperation.
They know the true score.
They know time is running out.
They know their autumn “conquests” were Pyrrhic in the extreme – many thousands of casualties and severe losses of equipment without ever inflicting a meaningful defeat on Russian forces, who are content to fall back to prepared lines to await the next wave of cannon fodder.
They know and are humiliated by how the Russians effected, with impressive speed and negligible cost, the withdrawal of over 20,000 troops and their equipment from Kherson, over what were (allegedly) acutely vulnerable and tenuous lines of communication across the Dnieper.
They evacuated all their armor and vehicles, leaving only 18 unsalvageables.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainians were so psychologically marred by the mauling they’d been taking for weeks that they remained convinced for a couple days that the Russian retreat was a ruse and a trap.
Tracked vehicles were able to cross the (allegedly) impassable Antonovsky bridge, which had been the favorite target of the AFU’s little HIMARS toys, even as the interception rate regularly exceeded 80%.
GMLRS rockets pack a mere 23 kg of high explosive in their warheads.
Once the withdrawal was completed, Russian demolition experts brought down the venerable old Soviet bridge good and proper.
Indeed, the Russians have now greatly accelerated their systematic “decommunization” of Ukraine’s legacy Soviet infrastructure – their very lifeblood.
Because of the well-designed, well-built, and redundant Soviet energy generation and distribution grid, Ukraine enjoyed a surfeit of energy since 1991 – which they put to little productive use, and exported the abundant surplus for cash.
Much of it is now a smoldering heap.
As the US did ostentatiously in Iraq – comprehensively degrading all Iraqi infrastructure assets – the Russians are finally giving Ukraine similar treatment here in late 2022.
One might say they are "Saddamizing Ukraine" in advance of something big soon to follow.
Despite the irrepressible faith of Ukraine supporters, the AFU has suffered massive irreplaceable losses, even as Russian strength is peaking.
There have been numerous thinly veiled recent admissions of this by official voices stretching from Warsaw to Berlin to Washington.
In a final futile attempt to prove themselves worthy of direct NATO intervention, Ukraine has sacrificed almost all its offensive potential for a militarily meaningless few square kilometers of Kharkov and Kherson oblasts.
And, in this weakened state, winter is upon them.
The ubiquitous deceptions of the #EmpirePropagandists notwithstanding, Russia is not on its last legs. Quite to the contrary, they appear to have finally gotten deadly serious about prosecuting this war. How that manifests itself on the battlefield remains to be seen.
I predict Surovikin will remain content to savage Ukrainian offensive moves as long as Zaluzhny is willing to keep launching them.
But the moment that waning offensive impulse manifests exhaustion, THAT is when General Armageddon is most likely to strike.
And the biggest question that now remains is: what will the empire do in response?
Will they resign themselves to the humiliation of a Russian triumph over imperial designs?
Or will the #EmpireAtAllCosts cult attempt something rash?
Let us pray it is the former ...
To finish off, here’s another video interview of Doug Macgregor. This time the interviewer is Polish so, while Macgregor repeats much of what you’ve already heard in previous videos, he tailors his remarks for a Polish audience—and that lends some interest. I’d like to point out one segment that may be of particular interest. Beginning at about 15:00 Macgregor discusses his conversations with both German and US military officials at the time of the NATO expansion eastward—1997.
Macgregor recounts that both the Germans and the Americans were totally out of touch with Polish and Hungarian irredentism, which in his experience in Europe he says is very real. The German view, as expressed to him by high level German officers, was that, since Germany had reconciled itself to the loss of its eastern regions (to Poland), they expected that Poland would likewise be reconciled to the loss of its own eastern former territories (to Belarus and Ukraine). The Americans, on the other hand, exhibited the typically American disinterest in the histories and cultures of foreign lands—including Poland and Hungary. The view of senior American officers was that America was leading a great expansion of Democracy eastward, which would eventually reach Moscow. The result would be universal happiness. Macgregor says he was dumbfounded at the ignorance and lack of self awareness exhibited by these Americans.
I can’t speak to the views of the average Pole or Hungarian on these matters. I can say that officials of the current Polish and Hungarian governments have certainly expressed irredentist sentiments in unmistakable terms. In the case of Hungary, two points should be made. 1) Hungarian irredentism is, for historical reasons, of little concern for Russia. As you’ll from the map, only a tiny sliver of the Transcarpathian Oblast of Ukraine has a Hungarian population (green). For historical reasons, Russia probably couldn’t care less about any Hungarian ambitions in this area, especially since Hungarian - Russian relations are currently excellent:
On the other hand, Slovakian and Romania have significant Hungarian populations—certainly in relation to the population of Hungary proper. Close to half a million Hungarians reside in Slovakia, bordering Hungary. The situation in Romania is complicated by the fact that the nearly one million Hungarians in Romania reside smack in the middle of Romania. The Székely Land is of considerable cultural and historical significance for Hungarians—and the history between Hungary and Romania in that regard has been fraught with mutual hostility. Take a look:
Once again, this situation is of little to no concern to Russia. Historically, Hungary has relied on outside powers to settle its score with Romania, which has nearly twice the population as Hungary.
The situation with regard to Poland is far different. Poles are historically and culturally much attached to Lwów/Lviv, which is considered something like the capital of Western Ukraine. Only a very tiny remnant of Poles still live there, probably less than 1%, but many Poles have family roots in that region, as they were deported after WW2 from there to what is now Poland. As I said, I can’t speak to the view of the average Pole about reincorporating Lwów into Poland. However, I have good reason to believe that the average Ukrainian would be, quite literally, violently opposed to that idea. Nevertheless, the current Polish government very likely would jump at the chance of the US going to bat on behalf of Polish irredentist interests in Lwów—foolish as that would be. More to the point, again for historical and cultural reasons (cf. the virulently anti-Polish article from The Saker linked above), no Russian (or Ukrainian) government could lightly surrender that territory to Poland—even though quite a few Russians feel that it would serve the Poles right. Lwów would likely prove undigestible for Poland. The rest of the world would soon discover just how deep Polish - Ukrainian hatred really is.
So, now, Doug Macgregor: