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Simon Diggins
Simon Diggins
8 months ago

Mercenaries can be a problem but Wagner Group are not so different from Blackwater, G4S, KeenyMeany (yep!), ControlRisks, and all the other ‘western’ private security outfits, that have rampaged around the world in recent years. The Russians were probably slower into the game because of their paranoid fear of anyone, except state authorities, carrying weapons. But, even their roles: training, private security, a little light fighting, are not so different.

We need to be aware of them, even wary, but also keep them in perspective; the ‘schlock’ horror headline is unnecessary.

How do you deal with them? They’re mercenaries so buy them up!

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
8 months ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

Or shoot them on sight.

John Dewhirst
John Dewhirst
8 months ago

With the likely collapse of the Russian economy I suspect that we will hear more of the Wagner Group. Not simply as the means by which Russia pursues its foreign policy objectives but also as a means by which Russians find work.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
8 months ago

 The Putin regime has long had bases in the south of France

Plus ça change… 😉
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottoman_wintering_in_Toulon

Ian Moore
Ian Moore
8 months ago

I would think in the grand scheme of things a relatively poorly trained mercenary force of 6000 spread over the world is of minor concern to most western governments, who undoubtedly have networks of such resources that are far larger and better equipped. Private security guards on the oil fields of Iraq and other delightful areas are paid more a week than what the Russian chaps earn in a month.

Kevin Casey
Kevin Casey
8 months ago

Reads like a Jason Bourne novel. Well written piece. Rather than criticise the Russians we could also no doubt add America to the list of country’s deposing or propping up governments.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Casey

Maybe word it – as well as criticising the Russians…

Kevin Casey
Kevin Casey
8 months ago

True thanks for the correction

R Wright
R Wright
8 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Casey

Whataboutism seems to be very common when Russia is criticised.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

That’s because that’s the only way the Putin apologists can defend the morally indefensible

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

‘Putin apologist’ is the new ‘anti-vaxxer’.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Yes, default to zero discernment,

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

If you come up with a better description for those seeking to excuse that animal’s behaviour then I’ll happily use it, but personally I find trying to defend a dictator who jails and disappears political opponents, poisons people with nerve agents on foreign soil and launches unprovoked land grabs of sovereign nations rather distasteful

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

No it is because we are criticising Russia for doing exactly what the US has been doing for the last 20 to 30 years and no one seems interested

Last edited 8 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
8 months ago

The Russian bots are beginning to stir.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

In the last 60 years the US has staged/sponsored coups, some against elected governments and some of which involved the assassination of leaders, in Vietnam, Chile, Brazil, Iraq, Indonesia, Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Syria, Poland, Panama, Grenada…and the list goes on in furtherance of it own economic as well as political interests.
It has also also interfered with democratic elections in many more countries including, ironically, Russia in 1996.
In 2003 it (and unfortunately the UK) staged a WMD false flag operation to justify the invasion of Iraq.
In and around 2010 it actively engaged in destabilising the Arab regimes giving rise to the Arab Spring and creating the mess we now have in Syria and Libya
More recently it was actively involve in attempts to remove the current Government of Belarus.
Is it any wonder Russia and Putin are concerned about US future designs.
Also, In the 1970s and 80s the US unashamedly justified its actions in the Americas on the basis that they were within the US sphere of influence and so they were not prepared to tolerate left wing governments.
Given this history on what basis does the US now believe it is any position to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
I used to believe that the old Soviet Union was, if not quite the “evil empire” then something pretty adjacent. I have slowly come round to the conclusion that the US was, in reality little different and, since the demise of the Soviet Union, has become has become the source significant harm in the world as it doggedly pursues its own interests or more accurately those of its ruling elites.
I have also come to view that through its iron control of the MSM it has reduced 90% of the population of the West, including its politicians, to NPCs (“non-player characters”). Who needs bots when you own the media

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

Over the last 60 year the US has stage or sponsored coups, some against elected governments and some involving the assassination of leaders, in Vietnam, Chile, Brazil, Indonesia, Argentina, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Laos, Bolivia, Syria, Panama, Grenada and others. Often the regimes it has put in place and supported have engaged in the violent suppression of opposition, including pass killings with the support of the US. Here I have in mind in particular Indonesia In relation to which documents from the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, declassified in 2017, confirmed that the US had knowledge of, facilitated and encouraged mass killings for its own geopolitical interests. There is also Operation Condor in Central and South America.
In addition, the US interfered in democratic elections in many countries including, ironically, in Russia in 1996.
In 2003, the US (and shamefully the UK) used a WMD false flag operation to justify the invasion of Iraq. Naively, I bought into this narrative at the time. I said no British Prime Minister would lie about something so serious.
Starting in about 2010 the US attempts to destabilise Arab regimes resulted in the Arab Spring and the situation we now have in Syria and Libya.
In 2014, we witnessed the US, assisted by the EU, oust the elected government of Ukraine and more recently attempt to destabilise Belarus.
Is it any wonder that Putin and Russia have real concerns that the US has designs on them next?
In the 1970s and 80s the US shamelessly justified its activities in Central and South America on the basis that they fell within its sphere of influence and so it had the right to remove any government of the wrong political complexion on the grounds that they constituted an existential threat. Is that not exactly what Russia is doing in Ukraine. Given the history of the US is it (and to a lesser extent the EU and UK) in any position to criticise, at least on moral grounds, the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In a very real sense we have legitimised this kind of military action and so we are now(or rather the Ukrainian people are)  reaping what we have sown.
Once upon a time, I did think that, if not quite Regan’s “evil empire”, the Soviet Union  was something approximating to it. The older I get the more I realise how increasingly the US resembles the old CCCP, and how in many ways it is more destructive. It has, at least since the 1950s and probably since before the turn of the last century, ruthlessly pursued its own political and economic interests, or more accurately the economic interests of its ruling, regardless of the damage inflicted on friend or foe alike.
The US gets away with it because of its iron grip on the MSM, which has turned 90% of the West, including its politicians into NPC (non-player characters), as someone else put it. If you own the MSM you do not need bots.

Kevin Casey
Kevin Casey
8 months ago

Thank you , exactly my point

Kevin Casey
Kevin Casey
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

My comment would hardly place me in the Putin apologist camp , but I’m always reminded that people who throw stones shouldn’t live in glass houses. What Putin has done is reprehensible, but so was Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq

Frank Freeman
Frank Freeman
8 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

That is because many of the wars that the west have caused are not mentioned in the media very often and even less so now. 377,000 Yemenis have died while Britain, the US and France have sold weapons to the Saudis.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
8 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Casey

Have you considered the costs imposed by the masters you serve, wittingly or unwittingly, “Kevin”? The hundreds of Ukrainian civilians, the thousands of Russian boys already dead? The show-motion fiasco that, I guarantee you, will not end well for Moscow either? Time to change your life…

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan Weil
Kevin Casey
Kevin Casey
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

I would be happier if you addressed my argument rather than attacking me personally. As I’ve already noted I’m not a Putin apologist and I find his actions despicable. My comments whichever way you want to take them, with regards to America are not only historically correct but relevant especially when, as I’ve noted we start casting stones

Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
8 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Casey

Everything concerning Russia reads like a Jason Bourne novel. Apparently, it sells well. If only reality were a novel, eh? We’d just call in Matt Damon and all would be solved in 90-100 minutes.

Kevin Casey
Kevin Casey
8 months ago
Reply to  Neven Curlin

If you read my comment before putting pen to paper and attempting to put your words in my mouth my Jason Bourne reference was to the fact that I for one had never heard of this “secret” Russian outfit Wagner and after reading the whole article it indeed read like an adventure novel. No where did I imply that “everything concerning Russia reads like a Jason Bourne novel.” They’re your words not mine

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
8 months ago

One of the dirty little secrets is that the United States, Russia, China, and others use “private military contractors” in pursuit of their goals and to provide support where they do not want to be seen sending troops. These “contractors” receive actual support and logistics from their parent country. A lot of countries would prefer to use actual mercenaries to these guys since you are the one writing their paycheck and dealing with them directly. It helps keep you on the same page so to speak. The services of these contractors are often offered “free of charge” to the small African Government of your choice. Just remember there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
8 months ago

Could Russian mercenaries conquer the world? When US special forces kill 200 of them in one action, the answer seems obvious. These thugs are writing cheques their experience can’t cash.

Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
8 months ago

Could John Lewis-Stempel scare everybody in the world?

Last edited 8 months ago by Neven Curlin
Kiat Huang
Kiat Huang
8 months ago

I see in the comments use of the tried and tested Putin method to deflect criticism or even just questions, from individuals, by trying to convince you that the Americans, the UK or whoever are doing the same based things, or that they have similar problems of their own making. It’s a criminal saying, don’t look at me, look at these other criminals. Well, you are still a bad guy and you will be held responsible for your actions.