Thursday, April 15, 2021

UPDATED: The Zhou Regime Blinks

It was pretty clear from the beginning that the Zhou Baiden regime's decision to use the hapless Ukraine to push Putin around and bend him to the Zhou regime's will was going to end badly. That seems official now. After all the belligerent rhetoric emanating from the Deep State someone--probably Putin--seems to have convinced the regime that they were painting themselves into a corner. Given that all the escalation was a result of mouthing off on the part of the Zhou regime directed at Russia, this is clearly a humiliating climb down. Ray McGovern covers this:

Baiden and Blinken Blink on Ukraine

President Zhou Baiden has now taken a waiver on the "unwavering", full-throated support that he, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had been giving to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The recurring "unwavering" meme was played right up until late Tuesday after Baiden’s telephone talk with Putin Tuesday.

Zelensky’ earlier profession was comedy. But what serious people saw in his decree three weeks ago (March 24) was a de facto declaration of war on Russia. With that decree, it became the official policy of Ukraine to take Crimea back from Russia. Kiev began to dispatch by rail tons of military equipment headed south and east. And Russia did the same – south and west to Crimea, and to the Donbass where armed clashes have increased between the Ukrainian regime and anti-coup-regime forces (dubbed "pro-Russian separatists" by western media) determined to preserve a degree of autonomy.

With strong rhetorical support from the U.S. and NATO, the Ukrainian regime seemed eager to let slip the dogs of war. Then someone – whether in Washington or Moscow, or both – apparently told Zelensky that "unwavering" rhetoric was not going to protect him from disaster, should he tweak too tightly the nose of the Russian bear. On April 9, Zelensky used his Facebook page to call off the dogs of war and stress the need to establish a new truce in the Donbass. Earlier that day the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces had said that the use of force to "liberate" the Donbass is unacceptable, since Ukraine "puts the lives of its citizens in first place", and civilian as well as military casualties would be massive.

That's rather remarkable, isn't it? The CinC of Ukraine's military made a public statement to the effect of: For God's sake, Zelensky, stop acting like a Neocon puppet because you do not have our support. Talk about being chopped off at the knees! Zelensky is revealed to the world as pretty much a president in name only. Not to put too fine a point on the matter, Ukraine itself is revealed--for anyone with any lingering doubts--to be a US puppet that's being manipulated by an incompetent or mad puppet master. The stuff about NATO? Please. They're simply the DC Deep State's poodle, but you can bet that they, too, were sending some borderline hysterical messaging to DC to back off.


In a telephone conversation on April 13, President Zhou expressed obligatory concern at the Russian military buildup near Ukraine and called on Russia "to de-escalate tensions", according to the White House. Then, in a surprise move (and in an oh-by-the-way vein), Zhou suggested a bilateral "summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia." Until now there has been no response from Russia. It would not surprise me if Putin, uncharacteristically, does not respond for a while.

It seems a good bet that President Putin was the actual originator of the telephone talk with Baiden. It seem likely that Putin called and left the same message he is likely to have given Zelensky; i. e., You are playing with fire.

But what got the most attention in Kiev and Washington?

I won't keep you in suspense. In McGovern's view--and the view of the entire world--what got most attention was the moves by the Russian military that made it clear that Putin was fully prepared to act decisively.

The end result of this Neocon war theater is that Putin comes out of it looking like what he is--a strong national leader and a statesman of a stature that makes the current DC regime look feckless. It confirms what Putin has been saying for some time: The US is incapable of entering into international agreements that any other nation can rely upon. The reason for this sad situation is that the the ruling establishment is in near total disarray--in part for sale to the highest bidders, in part slave to destructive ideologies that have constructed a fantasy world, and an electorate that appears in large part oblivious to these realities. The result is that nobody--now that Trump has been deposed by a coup--is actually acting for a perceived American national interest. But the rest of the world is in no doubt that the situation in Moscow and Beijing is very, very different in all those respects.

Needless to say--but I'll say it anyway--the US remains the dominant military and economic force in the world. Nevertheless, all that power will do us little good if the political order of the American Empire is dominated by forces that ignore basic realities of human nature and of relations among nations. The untrustworthiness of the US as an international partner throws the entire world order into disarray, with important players left looking for safe fallback positions--or opportunities.

Also of concern is the fact that everyone who is anyone in the foreign policy establishments around the world knows that Zhou Baiden isn't in charge. But who is? That's unclear, from my distance. Who in the regime thought an open military challenge to Putin without the means to back it up--short of nuclear war--was a good idea? They've been revealed to be fools--whoever they are (Blinken? Nuland? The other war hawks?). But then who called it off? The same feckless crew that manufactured the crisis? Or ... others? 

Here's another question, and you can bet that its one that's being asked and, provisionally, answered, in Moscow and Beijing. Where was the US military in all this? Still dithering about Trump supporters in the ranks? The rest of the world knows that no military can be effective when it's trying to conduct a political purge of its volunteer armed forces and has a leadership consumed with domestic politics and neognostic ideological fantasies.

It's a safe bet that US foreign policy in the Zhou regime is now in disarray, just a few months in, and that it is probably consumed with internal back stabbing. This could be a very rough next few years, because international affairs are likely to become very complicated. And when that happens the Dem domestic agenda will inevitably take second place.

The fact that so few Republican voices are expressing responsible foreign policy positions only adds to concerns.

UPDATE: I noted above that, basically, the world is a rough place and a feckless Zhou regime will ensure that it gets a lot rougher--including for the US. I also noted that when that happens domestic politics will take a back seat. Since I wrote that I read Thomas Lifson's excellent article at AmThinker: Signs of Dem desperation as legislators bypass Biden's commission and plan to introduce court-packing legislation today. In his analysis of the SCOTUS packing proposal Lifson specifically points out that foreign policy is already impinging on domestic politics. Here's his conclusion--but read it all:

All in all, the Democrats seem desperate, as if they see their last chance to hold onto power possibly slipping from their grasp unless they change what amounts to the rules of the game right away, while they still have the narrowest possible majority and a senescent president still holding onto office.

Daniel McCarthy and Kurt Schlichter offer views of the crisis they see looming for the Democrats. Were it not for the fully propagandistic role of the major media supporting them, the public would already have turned against them with fury for the incompetence of Biden's first three months in office and the unleashing of racialist mobs. With public approval of the media roughly at the level of used car salesmen, that media cofferdam will not hold against the public through November 2022. It is now or never, I believe a growing number of Democrats believe.


  1. I thank you for the last paragraph, that goes unsaid too often.

    In my mind there is no difference between Biden, Republican and or Democrats, deep state, IC or any other. It's just lock step government doing what Governments do.

    Both ends of asia are just daring the US to blink.

    China and Japan are deeply involved in carving up Taiwan for their own reasons.

    Russia is doing what I think the red states in the US should be doing to DC and eyeballing control of Europe's gas (energy) supply.

    I think NATO should pony up and get busy for a change. Any response from us would be leading from behind anyways.

    Or trump should pull a John Kerry and fly over on his own Iran style diplomatic mission, fair is fair. 😁

    1. 1) I love the idea of Trump pulling a Kerry style mission.
      2) I hate the fact that the DS would gladly take Trump down for that even more than they gladly overlooked Kerry doing so.
      3) Trump is my President. Jesus is my Lord.

      - Chuck

  2. I'll bet that "the rest of the world is no doubt"
    was meant to be "the rest of the world is *in* no doubt".

    1. Keep up the spell checks. Ignore JHUM. We all need clarity in these troubled times. This from a retired English teacher. BFH.

  3. ANanyMouse, do you have to point out every typo? 50% of your comments are spell-checks. C'mon give it a break.

    1. If Mark says "dittos" to your view here, I'll be happy to comply.

    2. I enable all comments, and I prefer to have clean text. No problems.

    3. I love the grammar nazi-ing when it's not out of spite and I'm a frequent victim of it. My wife does the same thing to me and I NEED it.

      It's to the point when I see the errors I wait for aNany to show up! Some have a talent for grammar, aNany certainly does, find the humor in it.

      Keep doing what ya do aNany, you make me a better person.

    4. A permanent, dedicated comment page used just for pointing out correction suggestions would keep them off the main comment threads but still get the job done. One could just paste the title or URL of the post in with the correction suggestion so that Mark knew what post was being referenced, et voila.

      Just a thought, anyway.

    5. Since I enable the comments, perhaps I should just do the corrections when necessary but not enable comments pointing them out, to avoid unnecessary clutter. I have no problem with anyone pointing out needed corrections, but if they're distracting to others I want to avoid that.

    6. Thanx for the (unsurprising) clarity.

    7. @Mark: Oops - that's what I would've said had I thought about it. I personally don't find them distracting (since they serve a worthy end), but simply not publicizing them except in cases where you think it would make sense to seems like a win-win to me.

    8. Mark, you’ve probably noticed that Don Surber asks that corrections go to him via email. I imagine that that is just for this reason - on the threads what some call “nanny notes” are like sticks in one’s bicycle wheel. I have always been a spelling/grammar nut, but not to the point of posting on a thread of comments about an article or analytical essay. My 2 cents.

  4. Mark,this post really crystallizes so many issues. Well worth a long ponder.

    1. Yes, what nation would be stupid enough to rely on the US for anything that exposes them to harm? But this is nothing new. America has a long history of selling out people who looked to us for protection against an evil oppressor, the more shameful when we enticed them to so rely. Just offhand...the Hmong, the South Vietnamese, the Shia of Basra in 1991, the Hungarian uprising of 56, the Poles in 1945 (we had help from Britain in this sell out but Churchill was outvoted by FDR), the Afghan tribes since about 2005, the Iraqis in 2009, the Kurds, the contras. America can be counted on to let down allies every 4 years or 8 at most. So there is a certain indictment of our presidential system that may be outdated in the face of threats like China.

    2. The horse is out of the proverbial barn as to US military and domestic politics. There's no doubt that certain upper echelon officers have felt free to comment on domestic issues in the last 4 years (and likely before then if i cared to look) so the military is now part of the decision loop and may even have a certain veto power they exercise from time to time, both on foreign policy and domestic.

    3. The breadth and depth of failure in our political class is truly horrifying. The certainty of a near term disaster puts me in mind of a Spanish American War with America on the losing end, ie, severe territorial concessions. But it could be an economic collapse just as easily. Prepare for the worst, hope for the...not worst.

    -Gibbering Idiosyncrasy

  5. There are 4 factions here, with different goals in this Ukraine mess.

    EU - A+ virtue signaling, needs natural gas from Russia, some sanctions. Not really important. Probably can help Ukraine through trade deals. More focused on Covid.

    Russia - wants to influence by holding parts of countries in former USSR. Moldavia, Ukraine, etc and act as a “peacemaker” to maximize influence. Wants to embarrass the US and feels betrayed by US promises broken not to expand NATO eastward. GDP size of Italy. Would like to take more of Ukraine, but stopped by unexpected Ukraine resistance. Economy highly dependent on natural resources. Hurt by sanctions.

    Ukraine - highly corrupt, but Russian invasion has helped unify country.

    US - Biden administration wants to do opposite of Trump to show how amazing they are, and wanted a foreign policy success by playing tough with Putin by bluffing.


    Establishment GOP - does not care, not even on their radar. More focused on fighting Trumps influence for the direction of the GOP.

    Trump - Picks his fights / focus. By being censored by big tech, it’s allowing him to pick his fights strategically. Ukraine is not a focus. Letting the Biden Administration and allies show their incompetence.

  6. I predict China takes Taiwan before year-end. With inmates running the US asylum for the next 4 years, and already shown to whiff at fastballs, Xi's got to be calculating that his time is now. He'll control half the world supply of high-quality semiconductors, with the other half out of a cowed south Korea.

    China becomes the sole world superpower in one stroke.

  7. Appearances matter--from UK Daily Mail:

    President Zhou Baiden has cancelled the deployment of two US warships from the Black Sea despite warning Vladimir Putin there would be 'repercussions' for the troop build-up in Ukraine. Last week, Turkey said Washington was sending two warships to the Black Sea, in a decision Russia called an unfriendly provocation. But the Baiden administration has reversed the decision after the Kremlin warned them to 'stay away for their own good'.

  8. >I predict China takes Taiwan before year-end.

    China does not have the ability yet to invade Taiwan. They lack the sea lift ability.

    And there is a seasonal issue Due to Monsoons.

    My worry is in 2-4 years, before the end of the Biden Administration.

    Once Taiwan starts producing diesel subs that will help,

    They just started deploying long range missiles.

    And they could probably quickly deploy nukes.

    Taiwan’s military has issues due to ending the draft and not increasing funding, and focusing more on showy purchases.


    I found this insightful:

    1. Agree Socal.

      Invasion of Taiwan is not a foregone conclusion. Not only is sea lift an issue-- ie getting masses of troops and equipment and supplies over the Strait a daunting task (particularly for a navy that's never done anything remotely like it) but the shipping will have to continue to sustain any landings. Further, CCP has very limited areas and lanes for approaching Taiwan in a difficult navigation, making it highly vulnerable to submarine warfare. We have to remember that it's one thing to build ships and completely other to develop sailors and tactics. Taiwan, faced with defeat, might opt to destroy the Three Gorges Dam, a cataclysm for China. Taiwan might also opt to destroy their semiconductor industry rather than allow the CCP to get it. Finally there is all important prestige at risk for CCP and lots of it. If they lose alot of men in a very risky amphibious operation, even if they win, their prestige takes a big hit. And domestic unrest is possible including a military coup if the losses are horrific. All in all, alot of downsides for Xi. Even without US intervention, they may prefer to strangle Taiwan by bullying its friends and customers.

      Ironically, a less risky move for CCP would be to build up bases in latin America and even Canada to worry tbe US. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if a civil war broke out here and the CCP offered to provide peacekeepers to any Blue governors asking for them. And they'd ask.

      -Muscovy and Cheese

    2. No doubt Taiwan is a prickly pear. The Zhou regime is prompting bad guys across the globe to reconsider throwing the dice.

      That War Thunder video is great, thx.

    3. I think a lot depends on the determination of the Taiwanese, and I don't know how to measure that. I'm sure there are people whose business that is.

    4. > determination of the Taiwanese

      Hong Kong had a huge impact on the Overton window of becoming part of China for Taiwan. The constant Chinese bullying is moving that window further away from China. China’s lying about Covid, and the associated dirty political tricks on getting Taiwan help with Covid have hurt China’s credibility even more in Taiwan.

      Few want to risk China’s ire by declaring independence, but only a Very Tiny minority want to unify with China.

      Many in my wife’s family bleed green.

      For some reason when I started discussing the challenges of Taiwan’s military (see above) on an international call with my wife, I was told to stop talking...

  9. The Japanese prime minister whitehouse visit was embarrassing...

  10. Interesting...

    Ukraine says:

    Either let us into NATO or we get Nukes again...

    1. The actual wording is that they'll THINK about getting nukes.

      Presumably Russia will have something to say about that. Why the European NATO countries to would want to link their security to a nuclear UK/RU confrontation is anyone's guess, but my guess is that they would not do that. I view this as bluster. UK knows they've allowed the US to put them in a very bad position.

  11. Good point on why the Russian bounty narrative changed:

    On Ukraine nukes, may be bluster and/or testing the political winds for developing nukes.

    My guess is it would be very easy for the Ukraine to develop nukes, since a lot of Soviet era nuclear weapon development equipment and expertise are probably still in the Ukraine. Interesting I can’t find any estimates on how long it would take.