Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Pentagon’s $10-billion U.S. homeland defense bets gone bad

The Pentagon’s
$10-billion bet
gone bad

Trying to fashion a shield against a sneak missile attack, military planners gambled on costly projects that flopped, leaving a hole in U.S. homeland defense.

eaders of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency were effusive about the new technology.
It was the most powerful radar of its kind in the world, they told Congress. So powerful it could detect a baseball over San Francisco from the other side of the country.
If North Korea launched a sneak attack, the Sea-Based X-Band Radar — SBX for short — would spot the incoming missiles, track them through space and guide U.S. rocket-interceptors to destroy them.
Crucially, the system would be able to distinguish between actual missiles and decoys.
SBX “represents a capability that is unmatched,” the director of the Missile Defense Agency told a Senate subcommittee in 2007.
In reality, the giant floating radar has been a $2.2-billion flop, a Los Angeles Times investigation found.
Although it can powerfully magnify distant objects, its field of vision is so narrow that it would be of little use against what experts consider the likeliest attack: a stream of missiles interspersed with decoys.
SBX was supposed to be operational by 2005. Instead, it spends most of the year mothballed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
Airborne Laser
The concept: A fleet of Boeing 747s, each modified to fire an infrared chemical laser through a 5-foot-long telescope in its nose. The laser would incinerate enemy missiles shortly after launch, before they could release decoys that might fool U.S. radar.
Major contractors: Boeing Co., Northrop Grumman Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp.
Early optimism: “We are building forces of good to defeat the force of evil. And in that vein today we are taking a major step to give the American people their first ‘Light Saber.’” — Henry A. Obering III, then-director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Oct. 27, 2006.
Problems: Because of the laser’s limited range, each 747 would have had to fly near or within an adversary's borders, leaving it vulnerable to antiaircraft missiles. To operate at a safer distance, the laser would have had to be 20 to 30 times more powerful. And the laser's potassium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide fuel posed severe safety risks to the crew.
Disappointment: “I don’t know anybody at the Department of Defense … who thinks that this program should, or would, ever be operationally deployed.” 
— Robert M. Gates, then-secretary of Defense, May 20, 2009.
Status: Killed in 2012.
Cost: $5.3 billion.
Kinetic Energy Interceptor
The concept: The fastest U.S. rocket-interceptor, to be fired from land or Navy ships at enemy missiles during their early “boost” phase.
Major contractors: Northrop Grumman Corp. and Raytheon Co.
Early optimism: “That high acceleration with the mobile capability of Kinetic Energy Interceptor is very, very attractive.” — Henry A. Obering III, then-director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, April 7, 2005.
Problems: Extending 40 feet, the KEI would have been longer than anything ever launched from a modern Navy ship. To carry it, Navy vessels would have had to be retrofitted at a cost of billions of dollars. And the interceptor’s range was too limited to allow it to be land-based. It would have had to be positioned so close to its target that it would be vulnerable to attack.
Disappointment: “No matter how successful tests might one day have been, the system would have had negligible utility.” — National Academy of Sciences review panel, Dec. 31, 2012.
Status: Killed in 2009.
Cost: $1.7 billion.
Multiple Kill Vehicle
The concept: A “bandolier” of eight to 20 miniature interceptors that would destroy missiles and decoys.
Major contractors: Raytheon Co. and Lockheed Martin.
Early optimism: “The Multiple Kill Vehicle is a transformational program adding volume kill capability to the ballistic missile defense system as early as 2013.” — U.S. Missile Defense Agency news release, July 19, 2006.
Problems: The technical challenge of creating and launching tiny “kill vehicles” that could find and destroy far heavier warheads in space proved insurmountable. Among many other obstacles, existing ground-based rockets would have had to be retrofitted or replaced. The concept never reached the stage where a test flight could be conducted.
Disappointment: “To more effectively hedge against future threats, we propose to … terminate the Multiple Kill Vehicle … in lieu of more operationally efficient alternative technology architectures.” — Patrick J. O'Reilly, then-director of the Missile Defense Agency, May 21, 2009.
Status: Shelved in 2009.
Cost: $700 million.
Sea-Based X-Band Radar
The concept: A floating radar powerful enough to detect and track long-range missiles and distinguish enemy warheads from decoys.
Major contractors: Boeing Co. and Raytheon Co.
Early optimism: “It is the most powerful radar of its kind in the world and will provide ... a highly advanced detection and discrimination capability.” — Henry A. Obering III, then-director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, May 10, 2006.
Problems: The radar’s field of vision is so narrow that it could not reliably track a sequence of incoming missiles. Its sensitive instrumentation is prone to corrosion at sea, and it needs millions of dollars in fuel to operate for even short periods.
Disappointment: "Just how this was going to fit into the [missile defense] system — I don’t think anybody paid much attention to that.… SBX was designed for a mission other than that required.” — Radar specialist David K. Barton.
Status: Downgraded to “limited test support status.” It sat idle in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for more than eight months in 2013.
Cost: $2.2 billion.
Sources: Statements posted by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Boeing Co., Raytheon Co., Northrop Grumman Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp.; transcripts of congressional testimony; a National Academy of Sciences-sponsored report, “Making Sense of Ballistic Missile Defense,” Dec. 31, 2012; interviews with missile defense specialists.
The project not only wasted taxpayer money but left a hole in the nation’s defenses. The money spent on it could have gone toward land-based radars with a greater capability to track long-range missiles, according to experts who have studied the issue.
Expensive missteps have become a trademark of the Missile Defense Agency, an arm of the Pentagon charged with protecting U.S. troops and ships and the American homeland.
Over the last decade, the agency has sunk nearly $10 billion into SBX and three other programs that had to be killed or sidelined after they proved unworkable, The Times found.
“You can spend an awful lot of money and end up with nothing,” said Mike Corbett, a retired Air Force colonel who oversaw the agency’s contracting for weapons systems from 2006 to 2009. “MDA spent billions and billions on these programs that didn’t lead anywhere.”
The four ill-fated programs were all intended to address a key vulnerability in U.S. defenses: If an enemy launched decoys along with real missiles, U.S. radars could be fooled, causing rocket-interceptors to be fired at the wrong objects — and increasing the risk that actual warheads would slip through.
In addition to SBX, the programs were:
• The Airborne Laser, envisioned as a fleet of converted Boeing 747s that would fire laser beams to destroy enemy missiles soon after launch, before they could release decoys.
It turned out that the lasers could not be fired over sufficient distances, so the planes would have to fly within or near an enemy’s borders continuously. That would leave the 747s all but defenseless against antiaircraft missiles. The program was canceled in 2012, after a decade of testing.
The cost: $5.3 billion.
• The Kinetic Energy Interceptor, a rocket designed to be fired from land or sea to destroy enemy missiles during their early stage of flight. The interceptor was too long to fit on Navy ships, and on land, it would have to be positioned so close to its target that it would be vulnerable to attack. The program was killed in 2009, after six years of development.
The cost: $1.7 billion.
• The Multiple Kill Vehicle, a cluster of miniature interceptors that would destroy enemy missiles along with any decoys. In 2007 and 2008, the Missile Defense Agency trumpeted it as a “transformational program” and a cost-effective “force multiplier.” After four years of development, the agency’s contractors had not conducted a single test flight, and the program was shelved.
The cost: nearly $700 million.
These expensive flops stem in part from a climate of anxiety after Sept. 11, 2001, heightened by warnings from defense hawks that North Korea and Iran were close to developing long-range missiles capable of reaching the United States.
President George W. Bush, in 2002, ordered an urgent effort to field a homeland missile defense system within two years. In their rush to make that deadline, Missile Defense Agency officials latched onto exotic, unproven concepts without doing a rigorous analysis of their cost and feasibility.
Members of Congress whose states and districts benefited from the spending tenaciously defended the programs, even after their deficiencies became evident.
These conclusions emerge from a review of thousands of pages of expert reports, congressional testimony and other government records, along with interviews with dozens of aerospace and military affairs specialists.
“The management of the organization is one of technologists in their hobby shop,” said L. David Montague, a former president of missile systems for Lockheed Corp. and co-chairman of a National Academy of Sciences-sponsored review of the agency.“They don’t know the nitty-gritty of what it takes to make something work.”
This leads, he said, to programs that “defy the limits of physics and economic logic.”
Of the SBX radar, Montague said: “It should never have been built.”
Retired Air Force Gen. Eugene E. Habiger, former head of the U.S. Strategic Command and a member of the National Academy panel, said the agency’s blunders reflected a failure to analyze alternatives or seek independent cost estimates.
“They are totally off in la-la land,” Habiger said.
Senior officials who promoted the four programs defend their actions as having helped to create a new missile defense “architecture.” Regarding SBX, they said it was much less expensive than a network of land-based radars and could be put in place more rapidly.
Henry A. Obering III, shown in 2007, championed troubled projects as director of the Missile Defense Agency. (Virginia Mayo / Associated Press)
Henry A. Obering III, a retired director of the Missile Defense Agency, said any unfulfilled expectations for SBX and the other projects were the fault of the Obama administration and Congress — for not doubling down with more spending.
“If we can stop one missile from destroying one American city,” said Obering, a former Air Force lieutenant general, “we have justified the entire program many times over from its initiation in terms of cost.”
The agency’s current director, Vice Adm. James D. Syring, declined to be interviewed. In a written response to questions, the agency defended its investment in the four troubled programs and asserted that the nation’s missile defense system was reliable.
“We are very confident of our ability … and we will continue to conduct extensive research, development and testing of new technologies to ensure we keep pace with the threat,” the statement said. It called SBX an “excellent investment.”
Boeing Co., the agency’s prime contractor for homeland defense, designed SBX. Raytheon Co. built the system’s radar components. Both companies are among the world’s biggest defense contractors and are major political donors.
A Boeing spokesman said that SBX has “sufficient capability to execute its role with speed, precision and accuracy.”
Representatives of Raytheon declined to be interviewed.
The Missile Defense Agency came into being during the Reagan administration and has 8,800 employees and a budget of about $8 billion a year.
The agency oversees several missile defense systems. Aegis defends Navy ships. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system safeguards troops in the field.
A third component is the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system, or GMD, designed to protect the U.S. homeland from long-range missiles. All four of the troubled programs examined by The Times were intended to bolster GMD.
The country’s defense against a massive missile strike by Russia or China still depends on deterrence: the Cold War notion that neither nuclear power would attack the U.S. for fear of a devastating response.
GMD is intended to protect against a limited attack by a less-imposing adversary, such as North Korea or Iran, by destroying enemy warheads in flight, a supreme technical challenge.
Rocket-interceptors would climb into space from silos at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County and Ft. Greely, Alaska. At the tip of each interceptor is a heat-seeking “kill vehicle” designed to separate from its boost rocket in space, fly on its own and crash into an incoming warhead.
GMD’s roots go back to the Clinton administration. Its development was accelerated after Bush, in December 2002, ordered the Pentagon to field “an initial set of missile defense capabilities” to protect the U.S. homeland by 2004.
Then-Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld exempted the Missile Defense Agency from standard procurement rules, freeing it to buy new technology without the customary vetting. Rocket-interceptors were deployed before the kill vehicle and other crucial components had been proved reliable through testing.
Despite its shortcomings, GMD became operational in 2004. In the nine flight tests conducted since then, the system has successfully intercepted a mock enemy missile only four times.
GMD’s ability to distinguish missiles from decoys, debris and other harmless objects — “discrimination,” in missile defense jargon — has been a persistent concern.
Powerful, precise radar guidance is key to effective missile defense. Without it, the system cannot be depended on to distinguish real from illusory threats and track enemy missiles so the kill vehicles can find and destroy them.
In the event of an attack, radar would also have to provide immediate, accurate “hit assessments” — confirmation that an enemy missile had been destroyed. Defense experts say that without this information, GMD could rapidly deplete its limited inventory of interceptors: four at Vandenberg and 26 at Ft. Greely.
Existing early-warning radars, based on land in Alaska, California, Britain and Greenland and on Navy ships, provide some of the needed capability. But their range is limited by Earth’s curvature, and neither they nor orbiting satellites are powerful enough to determine whether approaching objects are benign or threatening.
X-band radar is powerful enough. Its short wavelength — located in the X band of the radio wave spectrum — allows for more detailed imagery, and thus better discrimination.
Missile defense plans drawn during the Clinton administration envisioned as many as nine land-based X-band radars to complement the early-warning radars and provide complete coverage across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
In 2002, faced with Bush’s deadline for deploying GMD by 2004, Missile Defense Agency officials chose not to add multiple X-band radars on land and opted instead for a single, seaborne version.
It would be based at a specially prepared berth in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, an ideal location for detecting a North Korean missile attack, and would be moved around as needed.
Thus was born SBX.
Boeing’s designs called for the huge radar to be seated atop a specially modified off-shore drilling platform.
The Missile Defense Agency acquired the platform from a Norwegian company in 2003 and had it towed across the Atlantic to a shipyard in Brownsville, Texas. There, it was fitted with a propulsion system, a helicopter landing pad and living quarters for a crew of about 100. Cranes lifted the radar and its pearl-white protective dome into place.
The semi-submersible structure was nearly 400 feet long and 26 stories high. It weighed 50,000 tons.
Watch SBX in motion
Obering and his predecessor as director of the missile agency told Congress that SBX would be operational by the end of 2005. That proved incorrect.
SBX met standards for commercial ships — but agency officials had failed to take into account the Coast Guard’s stricter standards for vessels destined for the kind of hazardous conditions found in the Aleutians.
To meet the requirements, the missile agency had to spend tens of millions of dollars to fortify SBX against the sustained 30-foot swells and fierce gales common at its intended home port in Adak, Alaska, known as the “birthplace of the winds.”
That work, completed by Boeing in September 2007, included installing eight 75-ton anchors embedded in the ocean floor at Adak.
Missile Defense Agency officials spoke glowingly of SBX’s technical capabilities.
“It is the most powerful radar of its kind in the world and will provide the [GMD] system a highly advanced detection and discrimination capability,” Obering told the Senate’s defense appropriations subcommittee on May 10, 2006.
Agency news releases touted SBX’s ability to perform critical “hit assessment functions,” informing U.S. commanders instantly whether rocket-interceptors had taken out incoming missiles.
At a Senate hearing on April 11, 2007, Obering was asked about the GMD system’s ability to distinguish enemy missiles from decoys. He replied that SBX would help give the U.S. “a tremendous leg up” in this regard.
To emphasize his point, Obering testified repeatedly that SBX could see a 3-inch-wide object from across the continent.
“If we place it in Chesapeake Bay, we could actually discriminate and track a baseball-sized object over San Francisco,” he told a Senate subcommittee on April 25, 2007.
Yet because of Earth’s curvature, SBX would not be able to see a baseball at such a distance — about 2,500 miles — unless the ball was 870 or more miles above San Francisco.
That is about 200 miles higher than the expected maximum altitude of a long-range missile headed for the U.S., technical experts told The Times.
“In the practical world of ICBM [inter-continental ballistic missile] threats, this baseball analogy is meaningless,” said C. Wendell Mead, an aerospace engineer who served on the National Academy of Sciences panel.
Obering, in an interview, said his remarks to Congress were intended not to mislead but rather to provide “a good layman’s view of the range of the radar.” He added, “The range of that radar is farther than anything else we had.”
SBX’s powers of magnification belied a fundamental shortcoming. The radar’s field of vision is extremely narrow: 25 degrees, compared with 90 to 120 degrees for conventional radars.
Experts liken SBX to a soda straw and say that finding a sequence of approaching missiles with it would be impractical.
“It’s an extremely powerful soda straw, but that’s not what we needed,” said Harvey L. Lynch, a physicist who served on the National Academy of Sciences panel.
In the event of an attack, land-based early warning radars could, in theory, identify a specific point in the sky for SBX to focus on. But aiming and re-aiming the giant radar’s beam is a cumbersome manual exercise. In combat conditions, SBX could not be relied on to adjust quickly enough to track a stream of separate missiles, radar specialists said.
SBX’s limitations make it “irrelevant to ballistic missile defense,” said David K. Barton, a physicist and radar engineer who took part in the National Academy review and who has advised U.S. intelligence agencies.
“Wherever that beam can be pointed, it can cover whatever is within it,” Barton said. “But obviously that isn’t going to cover the whole Pacific for a stream of attacking missiles that are separated by many minutes.... Even if there are only four missiles, [an adversary] could separate them.”
Ronald T. Kadish, the Missile Defense Agency’s director from 1999 to mid-2004, defended the decision to develop SBX, saying it was “four or five times” less expensive than installing land-based X-band radars.
Another “important consideration,” Kadish said in an interview, was that the seaborne radar could be made operational quickly, compared with the time it would take to build an X-band installation in Alaska or negotiate with foreign governments for other sites on land.
Kadish, a retired Air Force lieutenant general, said SBX “seemed to provide the basis for detection and discrimination that we were lacking.”
The National Academy review, however, found that the missile agency “unnecessarily compromised the performance” of GMD by failing to make greater use of X-band radars on land. The panel’s 2012 report said the homeland defense system’s “discrimination problem must be addressed far more seriously.”
A panel of the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board, after a two-year review, reached a similar conclusion in 2011: “The importance of achieving reliable midcourse discrimination cannot be overemphasized.”
To address this vulnerability, the U.S. had installed one land-based X-band radar in Japan in 2006, and a second was added in 2014. The two radars are well positioned to detect launches from North Korea. Yet both would lose track of U.S.-bound missiles after about 930 miles because of Earth’s curvature.
Barton said that to give rocket-interceptors enough time to knock out enemy missiles, U.S. radar would have to track the incoming weapons continuously after launch, “from cradle to grave.”
One of SBX’s intended functions was to participate in tests of the GMD system. A mock enemy missile would be launched over the Pacific, and SBX would track the target and guide rocket-interceptors.
The radar’s performance in those exercises has fallen short.
During a 2007 test, “SBX exhibited some anomalous behavior,” requiring “adjusted software,” the Pentagon’s Operational Test and Evaluation Office said in a report.
The report said SBX had not served as the primary radar for any test in which an interceptor had managed to destroy a target.
In January 2010, SBX was the sole radar for a test in which an interceptor tried to knock out a target launched from the Marshall Islands. SBX “exhibited undesirable performances that contributed to the failure to intercept,” the Pentagon evaluation office reported.
Outside experts who had access to flight-test data from the 2010 test told The Times that SBX failed to “discriminate,” mistaking falling chunks of unspent rocket fuel or other material for the target missile.
In a June 2014 test, an interceptor destroyed its target, but SBX’s “hit assessment” did not reach commanders in control of the system, according to a report by the Pentagon’s evaluation office.
In an attack, an immediate and accurate hit assessment would be crucial.
Patrick J. O’Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency from 2008 to 2012, explained why: Without the assessment, “the commanders could order the soldiers to shoot additional interceptors at targets that have actually already been destroyed — or to stop shooting at targets that haven’t been destroyed,” he said in an interview.
O’Reilly said it was “worrisome” that commanders did not receive the hit assessment in the 2014 test.
An agency spokesman, Richard Lehner, said an investigation into the matter is “nearing closure.”
Senior military leaders had grown disillusioned with SBX years earlier. The vessel burned millions of gallons of fuel to power the radar or move about. It had to be resupplied at sea, and wind and salt water posed unrelenting challenges for sensitive instruments.
In 2009, then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates canceled plans to send SBX near the Korean Peninsula to monitor the launch of a North Korean test rocket. Gates said he could not justify the mission’s cost, estimated at tens of millions of dollars.
Beginning two years later, operational control of the radar was shifted from the Missile Defense Agency to the Navy. “It was obviously part of a major weapon system at sea,” recalled O’Reilly, who supported the move.
The Navy’s Pacific Command insisted on extensive modifications to bring SBX up to survival standards for combatant vessels. The cost ran to tens of millions of dollars — emblematic of the floating radar’s tortuous history.
SBX was never based at its specially prepared Alaskan berth. In 2012, it was downgraded to “limited test support status.”
In 2013, the radar sat idle in Pearl Harbor for more than eight months, records show.
To date, SBX has cost taxpayers about $2.2 billion, according to the Missile Defense Agency.
The government recently began seeking proposals for a new radar to help fulfill SBX’s original purpose.
It will be installed in Alaska, on land. The target date is 2020, and the estimated cost is $1 billion.
Additional Credits: Digital Design and Development: Lily Mihalik and Evan Wagstaff. Lead image: The Sea-Based X-Band Radar is transported to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (Missile Defense Agency)

Monday, May 25, 2015

OBAMA: " Ok George - I mean Mr. Soros, so what's plan C ?? "

Washington blows itself up with its own bomb


"Ok George - I mean Mr. Soros, so what's plan C??"

These are sad days in Washington and Wall Street. The once unchallenged sole Superpower at the collapse of the Soviet Union some quarter century ago is losing its global influence so rapidly that most would not have predicted anything comparable six months ago. The key actor who has catalyzed a global defiance of Washington as Sole Superpower is Vladimir Putin, Russia's President. This is the real background to the surprise visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to Sochi to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and then a four hour talk with "Satan" himself, Putin.

Far from a "reset" try, Washington's hapless geopolitical strategists are desperately trying to find a better way to bring the Russian Bear to her knees.

A flash back to December 2014 is instructive to understand why the US Secretary of State holds out an apparent olive branch to Russia's Putin at this juncture. At that point, Washington appeared about to pin Russia to the ground, with its precision targeted financial sanctions and its deal with Saudi Arabia to collapse oil prices. In mid-December the Ruble was in free fall against the dollar. Oil prices were similarly plummeting down to $45 a barrel from $107 only six months earlier. As Russia is strongly dependent on oil and gas export revenues for its state finances, and Russian companies held huge dollar debt obligations abroad, the situation was bleak as seen from inside the Kremlin.

Here fate, as it were, intervened in an unexpected way (at least by the USA architects of the financial warfare and oil collapse strategy). Not only was John Kerry's September 2014 deal with ailing Saudi King Abdullah delivering heavy pain in the Russian finances. It was also threatening an explosion of an estimated $500 billion in high-risk-high-yield "junk" bonds, debt that the US shale oil industry had taken on from Wall Street banks in the past five years to finance the much-touted US shale oil revolution that briefly propelled the USA ahead of Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer.

US strategy backfires

What Kerry missed in his clever Saudi horse trading was the sly double agenda of the Saudi royals. They had earlier made clear they did not at all want their role as world premier oil producer and market king to be undercut by an upstart US shale oil industry. They were happy to give Russia and also Iran pain. But their central aim was to kill the US shale oil rivals. Their shale projects were calculated when oil was $100 a barrel, less than a year ago. Their minimum price of oil to avoid bankruptcy in most cases was $65 a barrel to $80 a barrel. Shale oil extraction is unconventional and more costly than conventional oil. Douglas-Westwood, an energy advisory firm, estimates that nearly half of the US oil projects under development need oil prices greater than $120 per barrel in order to achieve positive cashflow.

By end of December a chain-reaction series of shale oil bankruptcies threatened to detonate a new financial tsunami at a time the carnage from the 2007-2008 securitization financial crisis was anything but resolved. Even a few high-profile shale oil junk bond defaults would have triggered a domino-style panic in the US $1.9 trillion junk bond debt market, no doubt setting off a new financial meltdown that the over-stressed US Government and Federal Reserve could scarcely handle. It could have threatened the end of the US dollar as global reserve currency.

Suddenly in the first days of January, IMF head Lagarde was praising Russia's central bank for its "successful" handling of the ruble crisis. The US Treasury Office of Financial Terrorism quietly eased off on further attacks on Russia while the Obama Administration pretended it was "World War III as usual" against Putin. The US oil strategy had inflicted far more damage on the US than on Russia.

USA Russia policy failure

Not only that. Washington's brilliant total war strategy against Russia initiated with the November 2013 Kiev EuroMaidan coup d'etat has become a manifest, utter failure that is creating the worst imaginable geopolitical nightmare for Washington.

Far from reacting as a helpless victim and cowering in fear before the US efforts to isolate Russia, Putin initiated a brilliant series of foreign economic, military and political initiatives that by April added up to the seed crystal of a new global monetary order and a new Eurasian economic colossus to rival US sole superpower hegemony. He challenged the very foundations of the US-dominated dollar system and her global world order everywhere from India to Brazil to Cuba to Greece to Turkey. Russia and China signed mammoth new energy deals that allowed Russia to redirect its energy strategy from the west where the EU and Ukraine, both under strong Washington pressure, had sabotaged Russian EU gas deliveries via Ukraine. The EU, again under intense Washington pressure threw one monkey wrench after another into Gazprom's South Stream natural gas pipeline project to southern Europe.

Rather than be defensive, Putin shocked the EU during his visit to Turkey and meeting with President Erdogan when he announced on December 1 that he had cancelled Gazprom's South Stream project. He announced he would seek an agreement with Turkey to deliver Russian gas to the Greek border. From there, if the EU wants the gas they have to finance their own pipelines. The EU bluff was called. Their future gas needs were more remote than ever.

The EU sanctions on Russia also backfired as Russia retaliated with a ban on EU food imports and a turn to Russian self-sufficiency. And billions of dollars of contracts or exports from German firms like Siemens or France's Total were suddenly in limbo. Boeing saw large aircraft orders to Russian carriers cancelled. Russia announced it was turning to national suppliers in production of critical defense components.

Then Russia became an "Asian" charter member of China's remarkably successful new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) designed to finance its ambitious New Silk Road Economic Belt high-speed rail network across Eurasia into the EU. Rather than isolate Russia, US policy backfired badly as, despite strong pressures, US staunch allies including Britain, Germany, France and South Korea all rushed to join the new AIIB.

Further, at their May meeting in Moscow, China's President Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin announced that the China silk road rail infrastructure would be fully integrated with Russia's Eurasian Economic Union, a staggering boost not only to Russia bit to Eurasia into China, a region containing the majority of the world's population.

In short, by the point John Kerry was told to swallow hard and fly to Sochi, hat in hand, to offer some kind of peace pipe to Putin, US leading circles, the American Oligarchs had realized their aggressive neo-conservative warhawks like Victoria "F**k the EU" Nuland of the State Department and Defense Secretary Ash Carter were propelling the creation of a new alternative world structure that could spell the ruin of the entire post-Bretton Woods Washington-dominated Dollar System. Oops.

In addition, by forcing her European "allies" to toe the US anti-Putin line, to the severe detriment of EU economic and political interests, alone her vigorous participation in the New Silk Road Economic Belt project and the economic boom in investment that will bring with it, Washington's neo-conservatives have managed also to accelerate a probable parting of the ways between Germany, France and other Continental European powers to Washington.

Finally, as the whole world (including even Western anti-Atlantists) came to view Putin as the symbol of resistance to the American dominance. This perception first emerged at the time of the Snowden story but has solidified after the sanctions and blockade. Such perception, by the way, plays a significant psychological role in the geopolitical struggle - the presence of such a symbol opens up novel venues in the fight against the hegemony.

For all these reasons, Kerry was clearly sent to Sochi to sniff out possible soft points for a renewed assault in the future. He told the rogue US-backed lunatics in Kiev to cool it and respect the Minsk cease-fire accords. The demand came as a shock in Kiev. US-installed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told French TV, "Sochi is definitely not the best resort and not the best place to have a chat with Russian president and Russian foreign minister."

At this juncture the only thing clear is that Washington has finally realized the stupidity of its provocations against Russia in Ukraine and globally. What their next scheme will entail is not yet clear. Clear is that a dramatic policy shift has been ordered on the Obama administration from the highest levels of US institutions. Nothing else could explain the dramatic shift. If sanity replaces the neo-con insanity remains to be seen. Clear is that Russia and China are resolute about never again leaving themselves at the mercy of an incalculable sole superpower. Kerry's pathetic attempt at a second Russia "reset" in Sochi will bring Washington little at this point. The US Oligarchy, as Shakespeare's Hamlet put it, is being "hoist with their own petard," as the bomb maker blows himself up with his own bomb.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".

Comment: This is certainly one way to read Kerry and Nuland's visit to Sochi, and probably close to the truth. The peace overtures are just surface narrative designed to give Russians and others the impression that cooler heads are prevailing in Washington - when, in fact, the cooler heads - whoever they are - are either dupes of their own horrible thinking and manipulations, or, being maneuvered to seem tamed and docile by the rabid dogs of war, chaos and conquest who really run the show in the U.S. Or both.

See also: Surprised? US has launched a new assault against Russia

Intercepted Report said Kiev Fears Fleeing Ukrainian Soldiers

DNR test results intercepted the armed forces of Ukraine: Kiev fears fleeing soldiers

International Panorama
 May 25, 21:39 UTC + 3
Only 5% of the military who know their responsibilities, the report said
MOSCOW, May 25. / TASS /. Military and psychological readiness of the armed forces of Ukraine groups in the Donbas low growing discontent of the local population, commanders feared defection of soldiers from the positions in the event of hostilities.
Such data inspection commission Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Donetsk intercepted intelligence proclaimed the People's Republic (DNI).
Most Ukrainian troops are not prepared for the offensive and defensive actions, the document says.
"In 70% of servicemen missing in full commodity and material assets necessary for the conduct of hostilities. Most of the soldiers is absolutely not prepared to perform tasks in defensive and offensive operations, as well as for combat in populated areas. Among the commanders marked by incompetence duty "- leads Donetsk news agency report data.
It is reported that only 3% of troops passed the test for combat training on a positive assessment. In a survey of military personnel, only 5% are aware of their responsibilities.
Despite the ban on the use of alcohol, marked increase in crimes committed by drunken Ukrainian soldiers against the local population. "Low morale of soldiers leads to increased use of alcohol and violation of military discipline among the troops, which is confirmed by statistics MIA and the increase in crime among the military against the civilian population", - stated in the conclusion of the inspection team Ukrainian command.
At the same time, residents of Kiev under the control of the Donbass increasingly expressed dissatisfaction with the presence in the settlements of the Ukrainian units.
"In the absence of an enabling environment for living, individual departments engaged in illegal building social values, as well as private households locals, causing growing discontent by the presence of soldiers from the local population and leads to a decrease in their support for the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions," - noted in the document.
About low military and moral preparation of Ukrainian security officials also indicated that the curriculum does not provide for the evacuation of wounded and dead. "Going with the military to evacuate the wounded and the dead are not carried out. The command considers them inappropriate conduct in view of the fact that attempts to evacuate the wounded and the dead lead to a significant increase in casualties among personnel," - the document says.
Command feared that Ukrainian units in the Donbass mass will leave his position in the event of hostilities. "The individual units without the use of additional measures for enforcement, military tasks will not be executed. There is a danger of leaving their positions whole units" - the document says.
The materials of the investigation and there are results of psychological tests security forces. "Statements soldiers suggest that the impact of the order on the beginning of hostilities, the governing structure of departments will seek to leave dangerous areas to save their lives," - says the report of the inspectors.
Earlier exploration DNR reported concentration of Ukrainian troops in Donbass. Grouping Ukrainian security forces in the demilitarized zone is up to 45 thousand troops, 380 tanks, about 3500 different types of weapons, including about one thousand artillery shells and multiple launch rocket systems, defense ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin DNI.

Against the " Undemocratic Policies of the Kiev Regime "is growing social anger.

Against the " Undemocratic Policies of the Kiev Regime "is growing social anger.

Pro-Western government in Kiev reduces subsidies to the population and industry to pay its creditors abroad. Because of this, many in the Ukraine on the verge of poverty and face the protests, according to World Socialist Web Site. Against this background of falling ratings of Ukrainian leaders - Peter Poroshenko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
WSWS: Prices for communal Ukraine provoke popular protests
Growing protest against the decisions " mode supported by NATO forces in Kiev, "according to the radical capacity prices for electricity, water and other basic resources. Protesters set even sham gallows in front of government buildings, according to World Socialist Web Site - edition of the International Committee of the Fourth International (founded by Leon Trotsky in 1938).
Right government in Kiev reduces the cost of subsidies for basic goods in order to send money lenders Ukrainian regime on Wall Street, as well as to increase military spending for the war against Russian-backed forces in the east of Ukraine . "
As a result, prices are rising " astronomical pace . " May 1 prices hot water and increased by 71%; a month before the gas prices have increased by 285%. In January there were reports according to which almost a third of the population of Ukraine can not pay their utility bills as rates rose last year by 35%, while prices for food, transportation and medicine - by 50-200%. " Now the broad strata of the Ukrainian people face poverty "- indicates site Socialists.
At one of the rallies were posters with the phrase: " Yatsenyuk means poverty for Ukraine . " On the other protesters set fire to tires in front of the Ukrainian parliament. The latter were representatives of the "financial Maidan." They require a restructuring of loans ordinary Ukrainians in foreign currency at the exchange rate, which was to " NATO-backed coup that established the current regime in Kiev . "After that, the hryvnia fell four times - from 5 to 20 per US dollar, reminds World Socialist Web Site.
Against the " reactionary and undemocratic policies of the Kiev regime "growing social anger. People in western Ukraine massively evade conscription for fighting with pro-Russian forces in the east. Also, the protest out miners who lost their jobs due to cuts subsidies of industry and mine closure. Already in March, according to social polls, the president of Petro Poroshenko did not approve of 58% (for there was only one-third). Yatsenyuk was even less popular: only 24% approve of his job. Only 8% of respondents believe that Ukraine is moving in the right direction, says the publication of the Fourth International.
Photo: Reuters

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"Seminary of Descension": Ukraine Moves Forward into the Dark Ages

"Seminary of Descension": Ukraine Moves Forward into the Dark Ages

"Seminary descent": Forward into the past
The World announced that Victoria Nuland flew to Moscow, and then immediately to Kiev. (What?)  Yes, who then, will feed the insatiable Kiev authorities? Nobody else wants to help this sinking ship. All not wanting to pay the tyrannical regime Poroshenko and Turchinov who obviously are incapable zombies.
What makes the Kiev authorities so ignorant? Obviously they can't solve even problems of the economy, much less restore any infrastructure? No,! Instead they build a fortress wall to keep people from fleeing!

While Kiev authorities say they are leading the country into the future and into European integration, and that they strive forward. The facts show they're leading the country into the dark ages. 

The great independence began with "Molotov cocktails", catapults, slingshots, shields, and helmets.  A regular "Warrior of light brigade operation" What is it was, was a US/EU/NATO trap. A Zombification of ignoramuses lost in a identity crisis beckoning to someone for them to be debt slaves to the West, and cannon fodder for NATO expansion.

The country's authorities are now building fortifications on the border with Russia. Building a useless fence along the borders.  

In what reality live these powers in Ukraine? Did they all learn anything in school? I doubt it. It seems like they didn't even try. The TV nurturing replaced studies. And even scarier is to imagine what they replaced in their brains with as far as history goes.