“They sow the wind…”

So in case you’re not a regular Russia-watcher (I envy you. Please tell me how it feels in the comments section) or you are but you’ve been living under a rock for the past two days, the Joint Investigative Team announced its conclusions from its investigation into the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. Surprise, surprise, they confirmed the basic story that most rational, sane people figured out long ago. The plane was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile system from territory controlled by the Russian military and their proxies rebels. The investigation also found that the Buk system was moved back across the border into Russia so as to hide the evidence. Of course it doesn’t help the cover-up when your state run media forgets to take down the original article from the time when the “rebels” claimed they had shot down an AN-26 cargo plane that actually  turned out to be MH17. It’s still up there after more than two years.

At the same time Russia has been in the news a lot lately, from a string of malicious cyber-attacks on high profile Western targets to the bombing of a UN aid convoy. Naturally the Kremlin response to all of this is that it’s all lies and “provocations.” They do nothing but good, yet for some strange reason the United States and its puppets (i.e. any country that refuses to do what Moscow wants) have been engaging in this pointless, mean-spirited conspiracy against poor little Russia. But what Peskov and the Russian state media don’t seem to understand is that while they can continue their pathetic denial routine, the rest of the world isn’t buying into the bullshit. Even those who might have been willing to give Putin the benefit of the doubt are now waking up to the fact that he has nothing but contempt for them and thus cannot be reasoned or negotiated with.

Though I find it morally reprehensible, I think it’s fair to say that much of the Western world might have been willing to turn a blind eye to Putin’s actions in Ukraine and Syria, particularly if MH17 had never happened. But Putin and his cronies, paranoid and delusional as they are, could not resist pretending that they are running a relevant superpower. Hence the propaganda attacks, including high profile fabrications like “Liza” in Germany, and hence the cyber-attacks on targets like the DNC and various Western media outlets. Now the FBI suspects that Russian hackers might be targeting American voter registration databases, possibly trying to take over the GOP’s job of disenfranchising minority voters. Who knows for sure? The point is that after the MH17 and the sanctions, Putin should have reined in his propagandists, agents, and hackers. He should have tread lightly. But for some reason he felt he couldn’t, and he didn’t. And he soon might pay the price.

The West has been ridiculously tolerant of Putin’s antics for quite some time now. In the past Russia was a good business opportunity as an emerging market, and Putin generally didn’t screw around with his Western “partners.” Now he’s started and he can’t stop, and eventually Western patience is going to wear thin. Once that happens, you’re going to see retaliation, and it’s not going to be pretty for Russia.

Professor Mark Galeotti has in the past written about numerous measures the West could easily implement against Russia that will do far more than sanctions. Many a Putin fanboy dreams of a shooting war between NATO and Russia (which is odd because Russia would be crushed), but if the West decides to up the ante none of those precious Topol-Ms or Ka-52s are going to do any good. They can cut Russia off from SWIFT, impose blanket travel bans and asset freezes on whole swathes of Russian government officials and their family members, mess with trade, and even launch cyber-attacks of their own. Given the situation Russia is in now, the effects of a coordinated all-out economic warfare campaign would be devastating. Color revolution? No need. The Russian people have shown plenty of times in the past that their patience with incompetent leadership is also limited.

Putin’s Russia has been dubbed a “troll state” in the recent past- it’s not a serious threat to the West but it can cause a lot of trouble. But just as the internet troll cowers when made to face his targets in real life,  Russia may face a painful humiliation when the West finally tires of Putin’s angsty teenager act.

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16 thoughts on ““They sow the wind…”

  1. Mr. Hack

    Anybody out there know whether any sophisticated video footage has been provided by US (or any other) high altitude espionage aircraft? I’ve been told that the planet is blanketed by this sort of technology. Also, I remember shortly thereafter, that after the downing took place, the US did have such footage, yet I’ve not heard anything since?

    Reply
    1. gbd_crwx

      “Spy-satellites” aren’t geostationary since they fly in as low orbit as possible to get as good pictures as possible. So there is no kind of instant picture of each corner of the globe available as much although probably much of the globe is swept daily. I don’t think spyplanes have been used in a long time since probably the cold war.

      Reply
      1. Mr. Hack

        I think that the technology has gotten much better since the cold war. Photography can now take advantage of the ability to take shots from very far distances, with amazing definition and clarity…I do remember reading about such images at the time of the downing, but nothing since?…

  2. Kevin Fernando

    You forget, you Western pig, that Russia and her allies will reap a bloody toll on America all around the world should the motherland be attacked. The moment the first NATO soldier takes one foot into Russian soil, the Chinese will launch an all-out attack on the US pacific fleet and it’s naval bases! The Indians will launch devastating raids on American bases in Pakistan! The Russian army will launch a crushing blitzkrieg into Western Europe and- okay I can’t finish this lol

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      That’s exactly what they’ll say in response to this, but they miss the point. There won’t be any war, no opportunity to retaliate. It will be as if they walled Russia up in the catacombs like the poor guy in A Cask of Amontillado:

      -“For the love of God, degenerate West!!!”

      -“Yes, for the love of God.”

      Reply
      1. gbd_crwx

        @Andy, as you can see at the end of kevins rant it’s most likely a parody (Poe’s law and all that). Although when we are on the subject actually there seems to have been a shift in the subcontinent where India seems closer to the US than Pakistan, contrary to the Cold war situation.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Yeah he’s definitely joking, but he gets their propaganda style right. The sad thing is that only in Russia to they believe that BRICS is some kind of alliance.

      3. AndyT

        @Jim

        Indeed – China has kept a “no-alliance” policy for years, and it has worked pretty well, so far – I doubt it will forsake it anytime soon, despite its border dispute with other Asian countries.

  3. Asehpe

    And don’t forget the obvious Peskov reaction: ‘it’s all anti-Russian bias’. Or Zakharova’s more detailed diatribe:

    “Russia is disappointed that the situation surrounding the MH17 disaster has not changed. The findings of the Dutch Prosecutor confirm that the investigation is biased and politically motivated […] Independently deciding who is guilty and inventing the desired results has become the norm for our Western colleagues. I would like to ask: how much longer can you do this? From the beginning Russia offered to cooperate and rely only on the facts. Instead, international investigators suspended Moscow from full participation in the investigative process, relegating our efforts to a minor role. It sounds like a bad joke, but Ukraine was at the same time made a full member of the JIT, giving it the opportunity to tamper with evidence and influence the case in their favor. To this day, the investigation continues to ignore overwhelming evidence from the Russian side, despite the fact that Russia is in fact the only side to submit accurate information and disclose all new data.”

    Sigh!… Why is it that Russian officials can always pretend they’re not doing what they’re doing even when the evidence is overwhelming? I imagine they’d react to their image not showing on a mirror with: “Of course I’m not a vampire! The mirror is showing me, you’ve simply been brainwashed by Western propaganda and the information war to believe that it doesn’t! You should be ashamed of being such a puppet of Washington!”

    By the way, I can’t resist the urge to nitpick… “reined” should be, I think, “reigned”.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      They say things like this because they think their own citizens and many foreigners won’t bother to check the reports, which certainly did take into account Russian commentary and the evidence they provided.

      Their own people will say: “Of course they did their own investigation and left us out of it. They just come to their own conclusion that suits them.” This also works because this is basically how the Russian government conducts “investigations” and as always, they are told that every country does the same as Russia.

      Foreign audiences that are receptive to the poor little Russia routine will also come to a similar conclusion. “The West did it so it must be fake.”

      Reply
      1. Asehpe

        That certainly appears to be true, because their reaction would make no sense otherwise. It seems so much in Russia depends on the Russian people actually knowing “how everything really works” in Russia (despite a democratic façade that they’ll be ready to applaud whenever it is required) and assuming that all other countries work the same way. One even wonders if Putin’s return to 19th-century geopolitics isn’t ultimately rooted in the truly held belief that it never stopped being exactly like that — no real (as opposed to cosmetic) advances in international relations over the last 150 years.

        And his capacity for interfering abroad, even though limited, seems to be now used in full. What you wrote about the FBI suspecting that “Russian hackers might be targeting American voter registration databases, possibly trying to take over the GOP’s job of disenfranchising minority voters” — that has me concerned. If the election is tight, Putin might make it a win for Trump at the last moment… Brr.

  4. gbd_crwx

    I’m thinking that even though RF have rocked the boat quite a lot recently “the West” probably won’t do too much actually out of fear of what might come instead, don’t you think?

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I think a time will come when they get so fed up they’ll start thinking about what they can do. One issue right now is Brexit tying up the UK, and of course the US is having an election.

      Reply
      1. gbd_crwx

        Maybe you are right, I think there could be some signs for example in Sweden using a readiness control as a cover for remilitarizing Gotland (Using a wellknown Rsussian tactic), and the Egor Putilov scandal, that I linked to recently.

        But if something would be done would there be any risk of the Russian state breaking up or is the sense of being Russian stronger?

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