The Shadow of the Bear

Last year I wrote a post about the Russians and predicted that they would exploit the Million Muslim March that was just getting started at the time. The point of that post was that the Russians were playing a different game than everyone else in the Middle East and they were bringing new tactics to the great game. They clearly were learning from watching what the Americans were doing and not doing.

The news brings word that the Russians are now exploiting one outcome of the Million Muslim March into Germany and that is the rape crisis. The cleverness of this is the sort of thing that should lead Western planners to rethink their approach to Russia and global diplomacy.

Here we see ethnic Russians out protesting in German cities in a way that is intended to remind European leaders of the large number of ethnic Russians in their midst. Oh, and remind the Germans of where those Russians look for guidance. It looks a little bit like what we saw before Crimea broke off from Ukraine.

Then you have the nature of the protest. It is highlighting an issue the German government has been trying to hide. That is, these are not refugees. These are invaders. That, of course, presses on the legitimacy issue. The German people are already upset about the policy and this is a reminder that the government has repeatedly lied about it. Thus, we have the Russians applying pressure to Merkel from an entirely unexpected place.

Then we have news of the growing conflict  between the Russians and Turkey, a NATO members, over Syria. The Turks and Russians have a lot of history and all of it bad. Having Russian and Turkish aircraft in the same sky is a disaster waiting to happen. Having each side shelling the other side’s proxy forces in Syria makes for a very dangerous game. It does not help that the Turks are led by a reckless nationalist either.

Again, you see the Russians using asymmetrical warfare even when using conventional weapons. The Russians know that NATO does not want a confrontation over Syria. At the same time, they know the Turks want things from Europe and the US that they probably should not get, like advanced weaponry and financial support. Russia backing the Kurds just ratchets up the tensions on the NATO side.

Merkel was in Ankara begging the Turks to shut off the migrant faucet. You can be sure the Turks set the price very high. The question in Moscow is will the alliance stick with the Turks if they don’t shut off the faucet or if war breaks out between Russia and Turkey over Syria. The other question is how much is Merkel willing to pay to keep the Russians happy.

If that is not enough pressure on the West, the news brings word that NATO could not defend the Baltic states against a Russian invasion. The Russians surely know this. That means when dealing with the Baltic states, they will expect a lot of cooperation. The ongoing turmoil in Ukraine serves a great reminder to the rest of Europe that the Russians are still important.

The Russians are also using one of the oldest weapons of war and that is confusion. No one seems to know their intentions so the West is left to speculate. The dearth of foreign policy talent in Washington does not help. The fact that Western leaders are post-nation bureaucrats and ideologues makes dealing with an unreconstructed nationalist like Putin even more confusing.

All of this highlights the fact that NATO is a relic from a bygone era. The Alliance was created as a check on the Soviets and a way to formalize the bipolar world of the Cold War. Moscow and Washington would run the world and be the point of contact for one another. The world in which NATO was created no longer exists.

The bigger factor is that the modern foreign policy elite is psychologically wedded to the old arrangements. They were raised in them. They have known nothing else. Even thinking of a world without NATO or a Europe that has Russia as a partner is still heresy. Instead the West keeps trying to recreate the conditions of the Cold War, presumably so they can have a walk down memory lane in the remaining days of their careers.

A century ago, the old arrangements had outlived their utility, but no one knew it. Events in the Balkans set the world on fire and almost wiped out Europe. That’s the natural fear over what’s happening with the Russians. They are poking, prodding and pressuring the West at all points. Counting on the Turks to keep their cool looks like a terrible bet.

Whether or not the world is a mistake away from war is hard to know, but old arrangements tend not to go away quietly. The combination of Russian meddling and Washington incompetence is creating conditions for upheaval. We already see social unrest in Europe over the migrant invasion. What happens when the next wave hits and some of them are there to self-detonate?

The Bear is making the world a very dangerous place.

35 thoughts on “The Shadow of the Bear

  1. You might want to double check your sources on that so called Russian kidnap and rape case. This was reported about two weeks ago and turned out to be a hoax, spread by ultra right-wing Russian sites and blogs. The German police questioned the girl, and she admitted it was all a hoax. If your German is any good (you can always use Google translate) you can read it here. This is from Spiegle on-line, one of the few serious news reporting agencies here in Germany.

    Basically, she’s a little runaway with an older (German) boyfriend. Because she was scared after coming back home or being found out, she made up the story of being kidnapped. She’s also not a German citizen, she’s Russian. But it’s still amazing how quickly this sort of propaganda can used to stir up support. I think you call this a black flag.

    Always check your sources and for anything you hear about over here. Spiegle and the SudDeutschland newspaper are good reliable sources. Der Bild is a garbage newspaper, on par with trash newspapers you pick up at the grocery check out.

    Gruß von Deutschland – Karl

    • It isn’t really “propaganda” if she herself claimed she’d been kidnapped. You make it sound as if the whole thing was set up by Moscow.

  2. “The Bear is making the world a very dangerous place.”

    Really? I think the argument could be made that Putin is the only sane person running a major world power today.

    The clowns running the US, Europe, and China seem to be the ones making the world more dangerous, IMO. At least Japan has the dignity and self-awareness to simply commit seppuku.

    • I find myself agreeing with this viewpoint as well. My sense is that Russia is acting rationally in a world where they are surrounded by threats: Islam, NATO, China. I feel more sympathetic toward them than I do fear or hatred. It seems to me that there are a lot of common interests between Russia and the West and we should be finding a way to grow stronger ties, not fomenting dissent. If nothing else, we should be uniting against the Muslims, who are a threat to civilization everywhere.

      All things considered, I think we’d be much better off if instead of an alliance with Saudi Arabia, we had an equivalent alliance with Russia.

      • But Russia is much more interested in inciting the Muslim world against the West than in uniting with the West against the Muslim world. Ideally, the West and Russia would unite against the Islamic threat but it isn’t only the West that doesn’t want to do this.

        • “But Russia is much more interested in inciting the Muslim world against the West ”

          Really? Frankly, the west has done far, far more to incite the Muslim world against it than Russia has ever done. Look at all the secular middle eastern regimes that the US has undermined in the last 40 years: Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and Syria. I’d even include Afghanistan in there, as the secular regime we installed there was so useless and weak that one is forced to doubt the sincerity of the effort. We disable and destroy secular regimes, so that Islamic fundamentalist regimes– who are obliged by the Koran to wage jihad against the infidel– can take their place.

          Meanwhile, the Russians spent the last two decades with their hands full fighting Islamics in Chechnya. They must be looking at us like we have lost our collective minds.

          • We aren’t telling the Muslim world that “Russia is waging war against Islam”. But Russia’s RT channel does tell the Muslim world that “The West is waging war against Islam”. The only explanation for such a statement is that Russia is actively interested in inciting the Muslim world against the West. There’s no way you can get around this without lying to yourself or to others.

          • This is true, but to some degree, it is justified. Russia feels like the West is a constant threat to them – with the encroachment of NATO and the meddling in the Russian/Iranian relations. It’s rational for Russia to respond by attempting to weaken the West in any way they can.

            The solution here is a realignment of defunct alliances. NATO is no longer needed in a post-communist era. Our alliance with Saudi Arabia is no longer needed in a world where fracking in North America alone can meet our energy needs. Israel has existed for 70 years now. They’re strong enough to defend themselves. We don’t need to be their big brother anymore.

            Our natural military allies should be the Anglosphere first, Western Europe next and Eastern Europe (including Russia) next. Beyond that, we should have conditional trade relations with the East Asians, the Latin Americans, the Indians and the Israelis. The Middle East and Africa can go screw themselves. I wouldn’t care if we had no trade, no immigration, and no diplomatic relations whatsoever with those uncivilized brutes. There is nothing but downside with them.

          • Given that it isn’t true, it isn’t “justified”. Come on. Don’t make excuses for them.
            I’d be in favor of an international alliance against Jihadists. I’m happy Russia is bombing Jihadists in Syria. I think Western countries (including Israel, Japan, Korea, etc) should stick together. I’d like Russia to join that alliance. Right now, it isn’t only Europe and America that don’t want an alliance with Russia. Russia would, in any case, work to undermine the West.
            I think it’s partly due to suspicion, partly paranoia and partly because Putin regards the Soviet Union as a wonderful example of Russian hegemony. Putin rather likes the idea of some kind of conflict with the West.
            You’re trying to picture Russia’s politics as you wish they were, instead of being realistic.
            Russia doesn’t want the middle east to get lost. He views the middle east as a very valuable playing ground. After all, Iran’s leaders chant “Death to America”, not “Death to Russia” : )
            From his point of view, protecting them (at least to some extent), is very important.

            I was shocked when I read on RT that America’s bombing of Isis is part of the West’s war on Islam. This was before Russia began bombing there.
            It’s dangerously naive to pretend that the West can have a real alliance with Russia.
            One can have a working relationship and agreements about certain things, with limited scope. Not a true friendship. At least not at this point in time. In 20 years time, everything might be different.

        • That’s a very old tradition. For a long time they were more interested in keeping the Muslin Tartars aimed at Poland and Hungary than they were in destroying them.

      • Russia faces some threats, but NATO isn’t one of them. Whooping up fear of NATO’s shield rattling is good internal propaganda, but Putin isn’t nuts and doesn’t believe it himself.

        • Actually, I spoke to some Russian guy years ago. Not at all your typical chest-thumping patriot. Yet he assured me that Russia’s fears of NATO are very sincere. He himself was also scared of NATO on behalf of Russia. He couldn’t view placing rocket defences in Poland as anything other than a hostile act.
          It might be paranoia but it is sincere.
          It doesn’t mean that Putin doesn’t enjoy making use of it but it is a genuine and profound concern.

      • Agreed. Russians must think we are mad, pondering wars that can only diminish our resources and bring us to grief. We are infested with clowns who are living in the past. Whatever plans Washington has for Syria cannot conceivably be in our national interest, but Russia has rightly determined that they should have a dog in the fight. The U.S. is following its usual pattern of trying to depose a secular leader and creating the vacuum necessary for Muslim insurgency while Russia intends to prop him up. Let’s drink to their success.

  3. The current world system has run its course, time for it to go away. Through what ever means necessary. Expose the rot and remove all the necrotic tissue. Then start building something new.

    • Actually, other than political correctness, the current system is excellent and provides people with every opportunity. The fact that you can actually access this blog and that you have more wealth at your disposal than people living under different systems do might offer you a clue about how good it is. And political correctness isn’t a product of the current system, it’s just attached onto it. If someone has an idea for a new system, I’d rather he uses some crappy little country to test it on for 20-30 years rather than use America or Europe as a guinea-pig for his experiments.

  4. I looked at RT (the russian news/propaganda) site a few weeks ago and saw it casually refer to “the West’s war on Islam”. Russia thinks that while it bombs crazy Muslims it can also inform Muslims that the West is waging war on Islam. If it doesn’t help, they must figure it won’t do any harm to turn Muslims against the West.
    Same goes for Iran’s bomb. It does Russia no good to have a nuclear middle east but Russia can’t look beyond the fact that it has few allies and Iran is one of them and that Iran won’t get around to threatening Russia until it’s made life hell for Europe and even then will prefer to antagonize America.
    You say the West can’t think of Russia as an ally but the West did try its silly ‘reset’ to do just that.
    Russia can’t think of the West as an ally and misses the power it had back in the day, and misses some of the conflict too.
    I also saw on RT a bizarre analysis (24 hours after Turkey hit the Russian plane) explaining that America ordered Turkey to do it and that Erdogan is nothing but an American puppet. Whereas it’s clear to everyone that Erdogan is a loose canon and that the last thing the West wants is for him – a NATO member – to attack Russia.
    There’s a mixture of paranoia and cynicism in Russia’s behavior.

  5. Russia is big and has problems (not least of which is a severely declining birth rate… oh wait, that’s Germany’s problem too… hmmm) and wants to be seen as important. The best way to do that is to rattle a few sabres, even if the quality of the sabre is always a bit doubtful. India, for example, has found difficulties buying Russian military equipment which doesn’t work as specified while the Russians are big on military theory because, darn it, they can’t afford the fuel to practice.

    On the other hand, they are pretty good at, for example in the Ukraine, stirring up locals to help them get their way. On that basis they may well fancy having a go at the Baltic states as Europe has grand plans for dissolving armies and creating an EU ‘peace force’ which may well be modelled on the feeble UN in that they wear distinctive brightly painted helmets and do ‘peaceful’ things like not knowing how and when to use a rifle.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if a good number of the million ‘refugees’ crossing borders with abandon are Russian trained special forces, handily placed if things get out of hand. Or if they are just belligerent muslims making waves for the helpless west, then I am sure Russia will help out by offering to help police the immigrants. Russian tanks in Germany under a ‘friendly’ flag? I wonder… hmmm….

    • ^ This ^

      Russia is big on threats and asymmetrical warfare and have a few well-equipped and trained units. The rest of their army is complete crap and most of it is stationed along the thousands of miles of border with China. They probably couldn’t take Turkey even if NATO sat it out. Russia could take the Baltic states and hold them for maybe a month if NATO responded.

      The problem is that the West has lost their collective balls, and Putin knows it.

  6. A couple of months ago I read one of those 99 cent Kindle History books of out of copyright material. The last few chapters were devoted to chronicling how the Russians and the Turks kept jostling along their shared border. The final chapter was a ringing summation of how all this made it imperative that the Russians needed to be taught a lesson so they would leave Turkey, and thus Europe, alone. About a year after this was written, Queen Victoria’s army was on its way to Crimea. The more things change, the more they stay the same?

    • Yah know, I’ve been thinking about signing up… pretty good with horses, maybe I can get on with the Light Brigade?

  7. The worst case scenario is Merkel and all her jerkel’s having their way unimpeded, so bad Vlad is a net plus, and he may even be essential.

    May Europe lead the way in reaction and revolution against their masters. That would make our way more clear.

    • And what with the “thinking” of anyone “doing business” with the US State Dept. available to for pick up from The Secretaries bathroom…..

      • Consider who Putin is. He certainly ain’t an emasculated ketchup princess in a Frankenstein mask. Or a magic negro whose priorities are born from being diddled by a worn out dried up raisin of a communist and child molester and bottle fed by William Ayer’s on the poison milk of the human extinction movement aka cultural marxism.

        Putin and his tribe know the score, they ain’t radical chic sheltered trust fund brats and red diaper babies, they are hardcore Nationalists. The Varsity team. They understand the very limits of their weaknesses and strengths, and those of the western elites. He understands what feckless fools and political debutants they are, and are playing them like a fiddle. Many steps ahead of them. Those guys remember the Nomenklaturer class, how they got the USSR mired in the debacle of Afghanistan in the 80’s and learned what 4th gen war is about. The idiots running the west have never suffered a hang nail, or been hungry for a day, or White Mice coming for them in the dead of night to disappear in the gulags or dungeons of Lubyanka Prison, a pampered lot of spoiled hateful brats never seen in all of history who despise Christian Judea civilization. Laughing stocks of Cultural Marxism. Easy targets? You betcha. And Putin’s clan is sucking the clowns into a trap of their own making like Pavlov’s Dog, along with their reckless satraps and proxies. Russian’s know what existential survival is. They understand what total war is and what is required to wage it. That right there is a huge advantage. Right now Putin is inside the West’s OODA loop, he lives in their heads. I think it is delightful to watch. Don’t discount the Russian’s, they need a stable West more than the West needs to be stable. Right now it is a pathological wreck with psychopaths steering it into Hell. I think they are trying to instigate a creative collapse of the Western political class so it can reset itself before its too late. Anything is better than the Gotterobammerung! its heading for. A republican form of American government is a stabilizing dynamic on the rest of the world. Not talking a neocon/marxist/bankster/crony/corporate slave class run state either. But a revolutionary republic of Freemen. How else is the world going to stabilize itself. The Russians have to use a stable, as much as it can be, Levant as a force multiplier. It’s why everyone wants to control the Levant, it is the key to the control of the rest of Asia minor. This shit in Syria is for all the marbles. The Russian’s are nobodies fools.

  8. “The dearth of foreign policy talent in Washington does not help.”

    Washington is sending old Kissinger to talk to Putin.

  9. The Russians want what the Russians have always wanted — security. Russians consider themselves the heir to the Roman Empire, and, like the Romans, they are chauvinistic, paranoid, and insecure. They want defensible borders for their cultural zone. They want a warm-water seaport. Putin is, in all ways, the spiritual heir of Ivan the Terrible.

    None of that is exactly a criticism of the Russians. They are what they are. They have always considered themselves a Great Power, and now they finally have the means to act like one again. I half expect them to send agents provocateurs into the Raj to force Great Britain into another Afghan war, just like the good old days. Disraeli knew how to handle them… too bad nobody reads history anymore.

    • The Sultan ain’t all he used to be, and Disraeli has left the scene.
      Dagnab if that warnt a lot of content packed into a little space!

    • They don’t really have the means – their military is crap. They just aren’t meeting resistance except from Turkey and Poland.

      • Their military is crap? Have you taken a hard look at OUR military lately? We have an open homosexual running the Army, and our Secretary of the Navy has been doing everything he can to make the world’s first Navy with no actual ships. The only branch of the service that had mostly managed to resist the onslaught of Cultural Marxism– the United States Marine Corps– was finally forced to capitulate. The CIC has purged the General Officer corps, replacing them with politically-correct bureaucratic placeholders, and now has started in on the field-grade officer class. Our special forces remain mostly intact, but that won’t last much longer now that women have been forced into the Rangers.

        • The Russkis don’t need much of a military. Even if our conventional forces were top notch — which, as you note, they’re not even close — they’re presently occupied elsewhere, and the Commander in Chief…. well, you know. Which leaves the defense of Western Europe in the hands of Western Europeans, all of whose armies combined field less manpower than the Delaware National Guard. (which, as an aside, makes me think we’ll be seeing a coup here before too long; they’re just about big enough to surround the Reichstag, say, and once they’re ordered to open fire on a crowd of their own citizens in defense of rapefugees……

          • The Russian Army is presently occupied elsewhere too – on the Chinese border. China would love to have a backyard called Siberia.

            And yes, most Russian military units are crap – Cold War era equipment (the stuff we obliterated in the Gulf War), manned by poorly trained conscripts.

          • “The Russian Army is presently occupied elsewhere too – on the Chinese border.”
            Care to cite any sources to back that up? Because I couldn’t find any.

          • Yeah– there was nothing at that link regarding disposition. You sure you know what you’re talking about?

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