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An essay about the flip side

This morning I was watching a 'news-show' on Dutch television which featured the current minister of finance, Sigrid Kaag, a prominent war hawk, and a former politician who got 'MeToo-ed' out of politics some years ago, and reinvented himself as a geopolitical adviser, and co-owner of a Dutch 'Think Tank', Han ten Broeke. Both are of the 'For as Long as It Takes'-variety of commentators. Clearly, if you are the owner of a 'Think Tank' on military and geostrategical matters, there is no money in telling the people we are running into a trap, and we will not emerge victorious, since our strategy sucks. I don't know who is paying him for his 'advise', apart from that television channel, but considering that the organisation which set this 'Thank Tank' up before the 'management buy out' was 'TNO', a semi-independent organisation intimately tied into the Dutch weapons production companies and the Dutch government, this 'expert' should be considered a lobbyist. 


Versed in the dictates of 'political sciences' at the University of Leiden, he has no military background, or experience. Sigrid Kaag studied ancient languages in Utrecht, but moved on to Cairo for a bachelor in the more politically oriented 'Middle East Studies' at the American University in that fascinating Egyptian city, before moving to the University of Oxford. Next came the University of Exeter, before she progressed to the French elite University ENA, and one year at a Dutch 'research institute' and 'Think Tank' 'Clingendael' to top it off, before landing fully honed and groomed for a career at the United Nations, serving in Middle-East hot spots. She has thus been destined for 'Great Things' in 'Collective West' politics, but she stumbled as minister of foreign affairs as she was taken by surprise by the American exit from Afghanistan, and made a mess of the Dutch withdrawal in the previous government. Why she ended up at finance is everybody's guess, since she is frequently lectured on matters by far more experienced representatives, and her passion is the promotion of the 'Green Agenda', 'WEF'-talking points, and war with Russia. 


Anyway, these 'experts' talked 'Ukraine', and more in particular 'Bakhmut', with a female host who has no clue. You're probably familiar with the drill, since it is done in a similar way in every NATO-country, and if they invite a 'military man' (preferably of the female variant these days), they are 'scripted', repeating 'talking points' without offering any kind of insight, jumping at the chance to promote the case for more money for the 'defence' of the country, ignoring the fact that Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine are not exactly next door, and nobody did attack NATO, let alone Holland. 


Why am I describing this scene, and background, on these pages? To illustrate that I do pay attention to the 'flip-side' of the coin, to hear what they have to offer. And to show you that I do pay attention to detail, like the background and most likely 'sponsors' in the background of those 'talking heads'. The situation in Russia is different. I'm not saying they are completely transparant, but they don't need lobbyists to 'work' the public, save for Prigozhin as the representative of the 'Wagner' private military group, also no military man, and therefore he stands out from the rest of the commentators on the Russian side of things. 


Now this ten Broeke guy offered a view diametrically opposed to mine in many ways, which is to be expected considering his 'business', where I have none. I do not make money writing about events in Ukraine, and I'm not 'invested' in the outcome. Elevated defence-spending will hurt me through higher taxes, and the creation of even more ambition at the 'vulture'-level, as they will go looking for even more wars as a source for more money for them. In fact, my most important criticism of defence spending in Holland has been that none of the stuff they were buying was worth anything if the shit really would hit the fan. It was spent on fads, and stuff they could use on their expeditions to wars far from home. If you pointed this out, they would shrug and say that my perspective was all wrong, because NATO was about sharing the load, with countries 'specialising', and within that concept our own forces would be employed elsewhere, while the Americans and the Brits would defend our skies and ports. To which I responded that you only needed to take a good look at how the US treats its friends, and will abandon them at will, to understand that there was no such brotherly love at the political level. And that was way before the US and Norway blew up 'Northstream', as Seymour Hersh exposed. Unless you desperately want to believe this fairy tale of six people on a rented fifty feet Bavaria sailing yacht, hauling some very serious equipment and explosives, and do a deep see dive from a non-stabilized platform, to drill through thick concrete and place those explosives, before returning to port, kissing the owner of the firm who rented this boat goodbye, leaving him with a badly worn out investment, as the 'mainstream media' are telling it. Smoke and Mirrors if you ask me.


But back to Bakhmut. According to this ten Broeke the brave Ukrainians are killing far more 'Wagners' than they lose soldiers themselves, while my own sources insist it is the other way around, with a vengance. Ten Broeke never offered any indication of a reliable source, but the overwhelming fire-power of the Russian artillery, compared to what the Ukrainian military are able to field, with BBC/Medusa estimates of KIA numbers on the Russian side being extremely modest, if we compare it to recently exposed Ukrainian numbers which are over ten times as high, I seriously doubt he did any research at all. Next he said that it struck him that the Russian airforce had been largely absent, which is true. They operated from outside Ukrainian airspace up till recently, using long range air-to-air missiles to assist highly advanced integrated air defence systems on the ground, after they destroyed most of the Ukrainian air force in the very first days, with fresh aircraft for Ukraine being supplied from NATO-countries which still have some Soviet Mig-29's hanging around. The reason for this situation is that late Soviet air defence as employed by Ukraine is still pretty effective, and why waste valuable aircraft if missiles, drones and artillery can do the job? But now that Ukrainian air defences from that era are depleted, used in attempts to shoot down Russian missiles in previous months, while Western systems are not anywhere as good as the former Soviet ones, since NATO relied on fighter aircraft for this purpose, the Russian air force is upping the ante by the looks of it. 


Meanwhile, the introduction of hypersonic missiles is causing some serious headaches in NATO-circles. NATO doesn't have any air defence system which can counter this threat, and rumour has it that the Russians struck a Ukrainian HQ near Lviv with such a missile, penetrating the bunker to a depth of eighty meters, wasting numerous officers, among which would have been forty officers from NATO countries involved in conducting this war. Alex Christoforou speculated that this triggered a 'dummy run' with an American B-52 strategic bomber on St. Petersburg, and Kaliningrad. If the Russians did kill forty high value military staff in that attack, they are most likely getting ready for the next step. From my perspective. No longer holding back and operating the 'meat grinder', but taking the initiative. Which is at odds with these openly announced plans for a Ukrainian 'Spring Offensive' which is said to be launched any time soon. Or was it merely a defensive strike to preclude said 'Spring Offensive'? If true, NATO will not be eager to admit it happened, while the Russians do not brag about these things, since they are still looking for a peaceful solution through some sort of settlement. But then again, how do you conceal forty dead high-value NATO officers?

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