Imagine the Freak-Out

Lost in all of the noise about Trump’s impeachment, is a bit of fact-nugget about how the US is diligently trying to make the world a worse place.

Judging from the call between Trump and Zelensky, the US is giving/selling the Ukrainians Javelin missiles.

By the way, if you’re not familiar with that process, it’s probably being done in the same way as US “foreign aid” to Israel and other places: the US gives a country money that is intended to be used to buy goods and services from US companies; in this case Raytheon. That way, Raytheon’s balance sheet looks great: they have significant international revenues, they don’t just sell to the US government, etc.

As usual, weapons systems get their own professionally-designed web page [raytheon]

That’s part of what’s confusing: was Trump making Zelensky roll over and beg for the money, or the javelin missiles? The answer is: “both.” He was controlling the money for buying the missiles. Without a doubt the shipping and handling on those is extremely expensive; a lot of friends-of-friends are going to make a chunk of money moving those things around.

The javelin is a state of the art piece of nastiness. It’s an infrared homing anti-tank missile with a 2+ mile range. You put the crosshairs on a target, lock onto the heat signature, fire the missile, and duck away from any return fire that may be coming your way. It’s more reliable and accurate than a wire-guided missile, since it does some of its own “terminal guidance” – i.e.: the target may try to evade and the missile may try to hit it anyway. It’s never a sure thing in war, but the probability of a kill goes way up.

Now, imagine if there was a place in the world where the US military was roaming about in armored vehicles – say, Somalia – and Russia decided to sell (i.e.: “give them the money to buy”) state of the art anti-tank missiles. Missiles that they knew were destined to be used against US troops. Missiles that would kill US troops.

Imagine the freak out.

On top of all of the other incompetence and furor in this great big drama we are having, the Russians have basically been informed officially that the US was planning on increasing the lethality of the low-intensity conflict on their southern border. All of this is being done in the context of a great deal of finger-wagging about Russia interfering in US elections.

Well, this should put to rest any notion that Trump is Putin’s puppet.

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No doubt none of this was a surprise to the Russians.



  1. says

    We’re not even *selling* them missiles, we’re *giving* them missiles. After you unwind all the money laundering, it boils down to “US Government buys materiel and gives it to allies” which is surely one of the great boondoggles of all time.

  2. says

    The whole system worked better when everyone used proxies. Then there wasn’t all this “terrorism” thing, it was just Them killing some other Thems and, you know, They Will Do That so everyone just made money and it was good.

    But world leaders gotta get tough and show off, so they start sending our boys out there, and now it becomes tricky. You can’t let Our Boys engage with Their Boys directly, because, ooo, awkward, but with all the Boys On The Ground things get tense. Plus, Their Proxies can kill Our Boys and that’s politically tricky too.

    Does it help that our front line guys actually getting shot are mainly brown?

  3. komarov says

    If you’re big on capitalism the money-shuffle also helps avoid charges of being socialist, or even communist. I can’t decide: Would it feel more or less like proper capitalism if these transactions used actual, factual monopoly money?

    but with all the Boys On The Ground things get tense.

    Excuse me, but “no boots on the ground,” remember? Absolupositively not. The US is a peaceful nation and not engaged in any wars – at this time. Ignore those lads over there. The distinct tracks made by only one design of US military vehicle. That flag over there. And on there. And there. And there. And.. well. Just don’t look. Especially not at that airbase. (Also, stop finding our bases by looking for fitness trackers, it’s unsporting!)

  4. jrkrideau says

    Well, this should put to rest any notion that Trump is Putin’s puppet..

    Nonsense, anyone with a real investment in the Russiagate conspiracy theory will manage to include this little blip in the narrative in the overall Russiagate conspiracy with no problem. Never underestimate the ingenuity or warped imagination of a real conspiracy theorist.

    Last night I read that Nancy Pelosi is sure that Russia is behind the Ukraine scandal. We have seen climate deniers and anti-vaxxers overcome more difficult problems than this. Facts are no longer of any importance to this conspiracy. The Believers “know ” that Trump is a Putin puppet and nothing as simple as facts and logic will persuade them otherwise. I think it has become part of their persona or their basic beliefs.

    By the way, minor quibble: I would not refer to Ukraine is being on Russia’s southern border. Maybe southwestern border but not Southern.

  5. seachange says

    Is it accurate to say Ukraine is on Russia’s x border, where x is any cardinal direction at all, if Russia is currently IN Ukraine?

  6. jrkrideau says

    @ 8 seachange
    Well leaving aside the somewhat vexed question of Crimea, I think it’s quite fair to say that to say that Ukraine is on Russia’s Southwest border. We could say that Georgia perhaps is on one of Russia’s Southern borders , but then you can say the same thing about Mongolia.

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