As I write this it is 29th August, a month and a day from the signing of a historic agreement that, in hindsight, demonstrated the weakness of the West and set the stage for a death and destruction on a scale never seen before.
Now as I look at the sudden change of events in the Ukraine I am reminded of that day so long ago, of the weakness and utter failure to understand events and of the desire to avoid confrontation among the powers that lead to the signing of that agreement. Britain’s prime minister was then able to stand on the tarmac beside his aircraft and wave that piece of paper in the air and speak those historic words. And we all know what happened next.
In the space of a few days the situation in the Ukraine has turned upside down and as a result we are now seeing that the leaders of the West are, in fact, not in control or that Russia is not a toothless old bear. I have said this before in my posts on the Ukraine that the West is deliberately provoking Russia while acting as if the old bear is powerless and will just sit there and accept the beating. The economic sanctions were just a way of punishing Russia for daring to not lie there and accept the blows.
Now we have a burst of stories that are, I believe, the signs that the whole mess has finally moved out of the control of the Idiots who lead the west and is now moving of its own momentum. Nato and the west are powerless to do anything, I covered why in detail here. Start reading after the picture of the Russian soldiers at a MacDonald s towards the bottom.
Firstly reports that Russia has in fact, deployed its military into the Ukraine. Now we have been hearing reports about Russian troops and vehicles in the Ukraine for weeks, Kiev was saying it had smashed a Russian tank column just days ago. NATO and western leaders have been condemning these mini invasions by Russia. But there has not been a shred of proof. So many reports, so many accusations. If every claim by Kiev was true there would be tens of thousands of Russian Troops in the Ukraine.
Now we suddenly have NATO satellite pictures as proof, now we have evidence. To my mind this means we are finally seeing a real deployment of Russian troops. All the previous claims and accusations have been lies designed to ramp up the pressure against Russia and to make the western case for intervention.
So when Putin finally acts and really does what he has been accused of so often the west is faced with the reality of their previous lies. Satellite pictures, Russian tanks on the ground. And they are afraid, really afraid, because the game is now real and they are NOT in control any more.
Next we have news coming out now that the Separatists have agreed to open a corridor through areas they control to allow Kiev loyalist soldiers to retreat, these soldiers would seem to have been isolated and surrounded and are now facing defeat and death. So the separatists have kindly agreed to allow them to leave, no doubt without weapons or armoured vehicles and I suspect the separatists will have huge grins on their faces.
This tells me that where Kiev was attacking and surrounding the separatist areas they are no longer the ones doing so. Now it is Kiev that faces its troops being besieged. That the separatists are willing to allow the troops to withdraw rather than be killed or taken prisoner tells me that Propaganda and Soft Power is being used carefully and well.
The separatists can say to the world that they are civilised, that they allow Kievs troops to retreat whereas it is Kiev that is bombing its own cities, destroying schools and making its own people homeless, hungry refugees.
Next The second front we are hearing about. Given the news above it is clearly working well if it is already forcing Kiev units to retreat or surrender. But it is where this second front is happening that is interesting. As I mentioned yesterday it is in the south, along the coast and pushing west which takes it away from separatist controlled areas. As some of the talking heads are beginning to notice, this Russian thrust is not best positioned to link up with the separatists in Donetsk but is acting as if it is heading for the Crimean peninsula.
Finally the way that western leaders are talking has changed. Suddenly they are not talking about Invasions, they are talking about incursions. Big difference. All the previous rhetoric about harsh punishments for Russia invading the Ukraine is gone. Now the word being used is ‘incursion’, after all an invasion is something big and serious, the sort of thing people would have to pay attention to. An incursion is a diplomatic thing, sorry our maps are not good, we wandered a few hundred miles into your country.
Another clear sign is the Russian Representative in the UN mocking the west, because it is clear that the west, for all its strong words, can do nothing. Nato and the West have played with this situation for months, using it to serve their own aims. Well now ‘them birds have come home to roost boys’ and suddenly the bird shit is falling on Obama and Cameron and the rest.
This bit is picture heavy but I’m trying to explain things which could happen so please bear with me. Also I don't have access to any decent software here so its paint for drawing on the maps.
Firstly let us look at what is approximately the regions controlled by or contested by the separatists.
It is primarily the main cities of Luhansk and Donetsk with towns and smaller cities either being fought over or claimed by one side or the other.
Now look at the same map.
The red to the south is the so called second front, the push that apparently consists of Russian troops and tanks alongside the separatist forces.
As of last night its not a huge land grab but look at where it is going, not towards the separatist region.
Also look at the blue circle. This is nominally under the control of Kiev but it is looking like a box with the separatists and Russians almost surrounding it.
As of yet I haven't seen a confirmation of where the 7,000+ Kiev soldiers are being allowed to retreat from other than it may be to the south, but if it is from the blue area or close by this would mean that Kiev is effectively abandoning this whole region.
Now it comes down to what Russia is doing.
If this is a push to relieve pressure on the separatists there is little need for them to keep going down the coast.
On the other hand if this second front keeps going along the coast following the road to the Crimean peninsula then that thin strip in the picture above becomes far behind the lines and a new boundary is suggested, in order to avoid being trapped in a salient Kiev would need to withdraw west of the blue line.
Given reports that the separatists are allowing disarmed Kiev troops to retreat from the south this may already be happening.
This opens Donetsk and large separatist areas to uncontested control by the separatists.
Looking at the larger area the region in blue is roughly the separatist area.
If Russia is intending to establish a land bridge to the Crimean peninsula they would need to occupy the red area.
Take it over by military force OR be given in by treaty and agreement.
Now given that Kiev is already pulling its troops out of the areas where they are being surrounded a Russian land corridor would mean that the region shown here in blue would be either Russian or pro Russian.
Much of the Donetsk region, most of the Frackable gas, the industrial areas and much of the Russian speaking population either there or able to move given that many thousands of them are now refugees from the fighting.
The area may well be larger that this, to include the north of the basin and its Russian speakers as well.
That's the end of the maps and my poor paint program.
Now in a day or so the Russians and separatists seem to have captured the red area in the first picture.
If Kiev continues to retreat then the red area of the second picture will be a few days more, particularly if the Ukrainian army is surrendering and abandoning weapons and vehicles which can then be used by the separatists/
Without serious resistance the road to the Crimea would take perhaps two weeks, much longer if they meet serious resistance, but then the Russians don't need to actually fight all the way to the peninsula. they just need to demonstrate they have the will and the might to do so.
Which brings me to 'Peace for our Time'.
In the early hours of the 30th of September 1938 an agreement was signed turning the Sudetenland over to Germany. The German claim was that the inhabitants were German speakers and German citizens and this gave German the right to claim the land. Czechoslovakia was carved up by the powers of the day and told if it wanted to refuse the agreement it would be left to fight alone.
So The Czech nation was carved up and there was no outbreak of war that Britain, France and the US could not fight. 'Peace for our Time'.
This morning we are hearing incursion NOT invasion, we are hearing talk of consequences that are if anything more mild that we have been hearing over the last few weeks. Russia has actually done what it has been accused of doing for months, sending troops and tanks into the Ukraine.
Now, suddenly, our leaders are forced to realise they do not control the situation, Russia is not a toothless old bear and they, NATO, the US, the UK and the rest, are a very long way away. All the threats are empty, those troops cuts that have carved such chunks out of Britain's armed forces now look like suicidal stupidity.
Putin is a nasty piece of work but rather than face him from a position of strength the leaders of the western world, our leaders, have played a game which they thought they controlled. Putin is a master of Soft Power as he has demonstrated time and again making western leaders look like fools in the process. Now he is demonstrating that he also wields Hard Power with the same skill.
So where are we heading. If Kiev continues to withdraw from a battle it cannot win and Russia continues to advance confident that NATO cannot and will not directly oppose them we are looking at meetings and agreements and treaties. A peace deal to stop the fighting, the Ukraine carved up like a turkey with Kiev either being abandoned or forced to comply.
The West cannot fight, will not fight. Not for the Ukraine. So there will be talk, behind the scenes and then publicly. Russia will get what it wants and the West will be left powerless on the sidelines. The EU WILL NOT fight Russia regardless of US pressure. The EU is too tightly connected to its huge neighbour. Western power in the 21st century is a tiny fraction of what it once was and the EU leaders are fully aware of this fact.
At some point the leaders of the EU may accept this fact, the leaders of the UK may accept this fact and we may start looking to trade and deal with people as our own nation not a state of the Federal weakness of Europe. But until they start acting like this the West will continue to play these hugely dangerous games putting all of us at risk, it is now down to Russia to stop attacking or to take what it wants and not drive to Kiev or the polish border. Having pushed and provoked to create this situation. Europe not going to war is now dependent on Putin being sensible. Oh how we live in truly strange times.
So it is now looking like Russia will be appeased, the Ukraine will be carved up and once again we will have 'Peace for our Time'.
We all know how well that worked the last time.
Update. As of publishing this blog I am now seeing a subtle change of words, comments that Putin is not sane and that NATO membership for the Ukraine is not being discussed. More signs of covering up weakness, more signs that would lead to a negotiated peace and appeasement.