Patrick Armstrong was an analyst in the Canadian Department of National Defence specialising in the USSR/Russia from 1984 and a Counsellor in the Canadian Embassy in Moscow in 1993-1996.
RED LINES. Eng. Rus. Putin lays them down: "we will insist on the elaboration of concrete agreements that would rule out any further eastward expansion of NATO and the deployment of weapons systems posing a threat to us in close proximity to Russia’s territory… we need precisely legal, juridical guarantees, because our Western colleagues have failed to deliver on verbal commitments…” What do you do when someone is threatening you, lying about you, breaking every agreement, getting closer and closer to you? Salami tactics: each step is small but there’s always another. Eventually some thin slice will be one thin slice too many. I think that this is the last time Putin & Co will ask; I really get the feeling that they’ve had enough. Read the speech yourself – the important bit is short and the Western propaganda mill will distort it. As the joke goes, it’s not a threat, it’s a promise. Kinzhals off the US coasts? Poseidons lurking at every port? Burevestniks in a holding pattern just offshore? How about these things? Destroy the Azov Battalion to illustrate will and capability?
PUTIN-BIDEN. Neither side is saying much about it (Kremlin, White House). Maybe the only significant outcome is this: "The two leaders agreed to instruct their representatives to engage in meaningful consultations on these sensitive matters.” Western propaganda predictable: "warning", "warns” "confronts", "strong response". There are reports that Biden is telling Kiev to back off and Doctorow sees Western propaganda easing a bit. A NATO/Russia meeting is coming. The Saker is hopeful. Want my take? First tell me who’s in charge in Washington: all I see are bulldogs fighting under a rug and nothing to indicate that Washington is agreement-capable. Let alone Kiev which has yet to act on any part of the Minsk Agreement. Biden is capable of reading threats from a script but is he capable of the give-and-take of real negotiations? We’ll see.
SWIFT. If Russia, China and the other "non-democracies” weren’t thinking of setting up their own system for moving money and credits around, they are now. (Of course they have – what we don’t know is how close they are to pushing the button and how much gold that button will have.)
AURUS. Interesting video on the development of the luxury Aurus car (and Putin’s ride). Has much to say about import substitution, Soviet engineering and Russian qualitative development.
PORTENTS OF THE END. Just watch this and weep. This guy is on the US Senate Armed Services Committee and is supposed to know something. Any US warship entering the Black Sea to "rain destruction” would have three or four minutes to detect and deal with a swarm of hypersonic missiles coming at it. As to nukes, Russia has them too. Crazy dangerous empty ignorant threats.
AMERICA-HYSTERICA. Media taking a "limited hangout” in reaction to the implosion of Trumputin. NUGGETS FROM THE STUPIDITY MINE. Nyah nyah, we’re not coming! But you weren’t invited.
STASIS. While a poll finds that 52% of Americans see China as the "greatest threat” to the USA, they have little confidence in much, not even the military. Another shows American youth pretty pessimistic. Not the strongest foundation for firing threats in all directions. Particularly when 30% think the POTUS is illegitimate and few believe the MSM. And Trump would beat Biden today says a poll.
BELARUS. Developments crawl along. Lukashenka promises a new Constitution for people to vote on soon next year. Suggests Russian nuclear weapons might be stationed in Belarus if NATO moves farther. And he promises to "team up” with Russia if it faces "aggression from Ukraine". Once again, Washington’s policy unites people against it.
EUROPEANS ARE REVOLTING. The new Norwegian government says it wants Norwegian forces patrol the border with Russia. Is this a way of saying "we don’t want our oafish provocative allies to do something that we’ll have to pay for?”. France isn’t joining in.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer