William Pfaff is the author of The Irony of Manifest Destiny, published in June 2010 by Walker and Company (New York) -- his tenth and culminating work on international politics and the American destiny. He describes the neglected sources and unforeseen consequences of the tragedy towards which the nation's current effort to remake the world to fit America's measure is leading. His previous books and his articles in The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and his syndicated newspaper column, featured for a quarter century in the globally read International Herald Tribune, have made him one of America's most respected and internationally influential interpreters of world affairs.   [Read more...]
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Plausible Scenarios and Dangerous Times

Paris, April 23, 2014 --The assumption now widely held about Vladimir Putin’s intentions concerning Ukraine are that his Spetsnaz infiltration forces, and the troops attached to Russian military intelligence (the old MVD), will continue to spread disorder and anxiety in Eastern Ukraine, encouraging pro-Russian separatists to go on seizing and fortifying municipal and other official buildings in eastern Ukraine towns.

Russian television and other propaganda media will continue to promote the notion of a general rising in the region by citizens seeking reunion with Mother Russia, offering mass resistance to attack by the sub-standard Ukrainian army (such as it remains), now serving the “fascist” parliament installed in Kiev and backed up by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who has just arrived in Ukraine.

This will be followed — as this scenario of what President Putin plans, and how America will react, continues — by the rescue of these pro-Russian citizens of what Mr. Putin, imitating the czars, now calls “New Russia,” by the 40,000-man Russian regular army that has been waiting at the Russian-Ukrainian frontier to be turned loose. It will reconquer the Russian-speaking Ukrainian regions that were once ruled by the czars.

Minor and rapid clean-up operations will follow to collect the Baltic States, Georgia, and possibly Armenia and Azerbaijan, with a few other lost territories, into the New Russia and its new Eurasian economic alliance.

This will all be done with dazzling speed and efficiency, while Barack Obama and the American Congress stand frozen by uncertainty, and NATO is able to rally only Poland, which is not enough. Sanctions will be tightened. At Fort Bragg, the 82nd Airborne Division will rehearse an opposed drop-and-deployment operation and be put on 48-hour stand-by, only to be stood down at the end of the week.

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