Geopolitician

Non-moralistic BS analysis of world power trends and strategic balances.

Ukraine Predictions

Reprinted from Facebook (2017/12/31): Geopolitically, 2015 will be crunch time for the Poroshenko regime. Short of massive Western support, a fiscal crisis is virtually certain. How will Poroshenko deal with it? A new assault against Novorossiya can’t be excluded; military spending is rising to 5% of GDP. That’s higher than any industrialized nation bar Israel. […]

On the Crimean Sanctions

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): There can only be two “justifications” for it: (1) If the Crimean referendum was rigged and illegitimate, as Kiev and the West have repeatedly argued, on what grounds are ordinary Crimeans getting punished for what is in fact Russian aggression? Sounds rather whimsical and arbitrary, if that is so. (2) The Crimean referendum […]

Why Asia Won’t Sanction Russia for MH17

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): This map is instructive: Relations with China and India are excellent. China is fast becoming a semi-ally. Korea relations are fine. Relations with Japan are frosty, but even they are less enthusiastic about serious sanctions than the West. The main reason for this is Japan’s not unfounded fear that Russia will get too […]

Was MH17 Terrorism?

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): Let’s say that the SBU recordings are genuine and the NAF was directly responsible for shooting down MH77 on the mistaken impression that it was a (valid) military target. Should this then be classed as terrorism? Would it invoke NATO’s Article 5, as some of the most heated rhetoric is suggesting? (See http://www.spitsnieuws.nl/…/nederland-en-vs-bereiden-invasi…) Well, […]

The Fall of Slavyansk

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): 1) The fall of Slavyansk is mainly a political problem, not a military one. In military terms, it is, if anything, a success, with Strelkov managing to successfully exfiltrate the great bulk of his forces from encirclement. 2) Donetsk has almost ten times the population of (pre-war) Slavyansk. Having aquired the great bulk […]

Islamic State Rises

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): Admit I was surprised to see ISIS take over a major Iraqi city as the Iraqi Army fled. I realize the corruption there is gargantuan, but surely at least some of the $18 billion that it spends yearly on its military must have gone somewhere useful? Anyhow, while Mosul and Tikrit might have […]

On Ukraine/Syria

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/14): It struck me a while ago that what Russia is doing so far as the Ukrainian borders in the east are concerned is essentially the same as what Turkey and Jordan are doing in relation to Syria’s borders. Both Turkey and Jordan keep the borders open, allowing jihadists from across the world and […]

The Donbass Referendum

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/14): Preliminary reports turnout is going to be high in Donetsk and Lugansk, with most people voting Yes to independence (though I’ve seen photos with a few No’s). I expected this (https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/465366857189310465) and it seems to have turned out correctly. Independence enjoyed 33% support in Donetsk and 25% support in Lugansk in opinion polls […]

Deconstructing the Result of the Four Party Talks

The media refers to the document that emerged out of today’s four party talks as an “agreement”. This is not strictly correct. The text of the document is here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/17/ukraine-diplomats-meet-in-geneva-in-bid-to-ease-crisis-live-coverage?view=desktop#block-5350089ce4b056a9012cda6f As its text makes clear what this document is in reality is not an an agreement to settle the Ukrainian crisis or even an outline […]

Russia’s Game Plan in Donbass

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/14): Quick piece I scribbled off for RIA: First off, an elementary observation: Donbass is not Crimea. Crimea features prominently in Russia’s historical memory, having undergone two epic sieges over two centuries. It was only given over to Ukraine as a pure formality, to mark 300 years since the Treaty of Pereyaslav that was […]

Was Crimea Worth It?

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/14): Was Crimea worth it? [editorial tone – neutral/objective] Pros * Secures major Black Sea naval base; Ukraine no longer able to link it to gas discounts. * Demonstration that Russia still counts to putsch leaders, pro-Russia elements in S/E Ukraine, and the West. From a realist, non-sentimental perspective, it’s better to be feared […]

The Lavrov-Kerry Meeting

We do not have anywhere near complete information about what happened at the Lavrov Kerry meeting on Sunday.  That in itself is a good sign.  It almost certainly means that with the Crimean issue out of the way (and with the western powers having tacitly admitted that the Crimea is now part of Russia) real negotiations […]

Five Myths about the Crimean Referendum

As voting gets underway – and by all accounts, it seems to be overwhelmingly heading for the pro-secession choice – it’s worthwhile to dispel four common but erroneous beliefs about it. (1) The referendum is unconstitutional. This is true enough, as all of Ukraine would have to vote on it. But there is one big […]

After The Referendum

If, as seems to be generally expected, tomorrow’s referendum in Crimea produces a substantial majority in favour of union with the Russian Federation, what will Moscow’s reaction be? I strongly expect that it will be…… Nothing. There are several reason why I think this. One is that Moscow is reluctant to break up states. I […]

What If?: Ukraine vs. Russia

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/14): I’m almost certain it won’t happen, but it’s always fun to consider these what-if military scenarios. Namely, Ukraine vs. Russia. In terms of numbers, it will be about 100K vs 150K – Russia has more, of course – 300K in the ground forces – but can only devote a certain percentage of its […]

Crimea Info

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): It’s very uncharacteristic of the Kremlin to blatantly violate international law (they typically make sure to follow its letter). So what explains the increasingly unequivocal signs of Russian military involvement in Crimea? The fact of the matter is that Russia has a legal right to military transit across Crimea SO LONG AS it […]

Ukraine, the Nuland Leak, and the Amnesty Law

A discussion on Crosstalk with Peter Lavelle in which I appeared discussing the Nuland leak. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLHXpCRPo-k I found some of the comments made by Taras Kuzio frankly surreal but judging from what I read on Kyiv Post he is pretty mainstream in Ukrainian opposition terms. Two weeks earlier in an interview on RT I said […]

What is Ukraine’s Game Plan?

Even a few months ago, it looked as if Ukraine had taken a significant step towards Eurasian integration by signing up as an observer to the Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. However, in the past month, evidence is emerging that it was but a temporary ploy to appease Russia while in reality speeding […]

Translation: Ukraine and Its Monsters

Regnum reports on statements made by Ukraine’s President, Victor Yanukovych, in which he visualizes Ukraine becoming a link between the East and the West as a result of an impending trade deal with the European Union. Yanukovych: Russia and the EU are giant monsters “and we feel it every day” Victor Yanukovych, the President of […]

Translation: Putin Victorious

Expert explains how the recent developments regarding Russia’s proposed resolution to the Syrian Civil War represent major victories for Vladimir Putin and his nation. Putin’s Five Victories The plan for the resolution of the Syrian crisis, proposed by Russia, is swiftly becoming more concrete. Already this past Friday, when Russian-American consultations in Geneva were still […]