Saturday 2 April 2022

French Ukraine "intelligence" fiasco: poor stuff, frogs

It's worth a small laugh over this cold weekend, but you have also to feel sorry for General Eric Vidaud, head of French military "intelligence", who has been required to fall on his sword over Ukraine-related failings: 

France‘s military intelligence chief is leaving his post after Paris failed to accurately predict – in contrast with western allies – that Russia would launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine ... France’s assessments had contrasted with the gloomy predictions by allies including the US and Britain who said a serious military assault was imminent. Senior figures from Emmanuel Macron’s government insisted there was no suggestion of a full-scale invasion and the French president kept diplomacy going to the last minute ... Le Monde said the war in Ukraine had exposed the differences between the intelligence services of France and those of the UK and the US ...  “Even if this reliance on Anglo-Saxon intelligence has existed for a long time, particularly in the fight against terrorism and in space, the war in Ukraine has shed light on it in a crude way”

Note "reliance".  Yup, that's what it is, much to the chagrin of France (and Germany and the rest).  Likewise France's dependence on the UK and USA for critical support that underpins its military operations in central Africa.  What a crap player Theresa May was, with cards like that in her hand.



djm said...

Its very clear that in matters of interaction between the UK & EU, May was always batting for the other side.

As - some 5 1/2 years after the Referendum - do the overwhelming majority of the political & media classes.

Anonymous said...

@djm An old joke...

A man walks down Whitehall looking confused and lost. Eventually he stops a policeman and asks, "Excuse me constable, can you tell me which side the Foreign Office is on?"

And the policeman replies, "Theirs sir, definitely theirs".

BlokeInBrum said...

Another way of looking at it is that the US & UK were so involved in training and supplying the neo-nazis in Ukraine that they knew a Russian response was all but guaranteed. The French were merely left out if the loop.

Bill Quango MP said...

As luck would have it, was at a diner with some of my RAF friends.

“When did you know the Russians were going into Ukraine?”

“All along, pretty much. Those rail depots had shipped machines, men and supplies from depots in Siberia. No need to that if it’s a bluff.
Though the clincher was in the papers. When I read Putin had moved his yacht, that’s when we knew it was coming. The repairs were not even finished.”

February 9th.

Someone buy The General Directorate for External Security , a subscription to The Business Insider. Plus, super Yachting Monthly.

A yacht named Graceful and said to belong to Russian President Vladimir Putin left port in Hamburg abruptly before finishing repairs, according to reports from German media.

It is unclear what prompted the move, but the $100 million yacht's relocation from German waters to Kaliningrad, part of Russian territory, came amid fears the West would impose sanctions if Russia invaded Ukraine.

While Moscow has continuously denied any plans to invade its neighbor, it has gathered over 100,000 troops at positions all around Ukraine and has even sent six assault ships into the Black Sea, moving more combat power toward the former Soviet territory.

Anonymous said...

Chief "statesman" Frog was being given the answer he wanted. Always the same.

visc said...

How far along will things get:

The 5 Stages of Grief:

Paying in Rubles

Don Cox said...

How many rubles to the dollar this week ?


Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain the "FX your EUR gas payments into rubles"? thing? Because it doesn't make any sense. Unless the EUR contract price for the gas is changed, AFAIK its still EUR.

Is it just that Putin wants to be able to say, Hey World, no more EUR, no more USD, we only sell stuff in rubles now? Which is just a pretence. Does he think India and China will now rush to buy oil in anything except at a USD per barrel price? (Heavily discounted, we read.)

Anonymous said...

I think there has been a cold hard lesson in power for non American aligned countries. Having a majority of your economy reliant on the Dollar and the western banking system is a strategic weakness.
Watch as gradually the rest of the world starts embracing China and diversifying away from America.

Don Cox said...

" Having a majority of your economy reliant on the Dollar and the western banking system is a strategic weakness."

And so is having your economy reliant on the Remnimbi and the Chinese banking system. All relatively small economies are strategically weak, even North Korea.

Not sure about the Euro zone.


Anonymous said...

We are about to learn what an actual currency is based on - Wheat, Oil, Aluminium etc....

The Western economic model has been dealt a knockout blow by this invasion and - if it survives - will be drastically changed.

China/India/Brazil/Russia and many African states will now join a new Economic 'understanding'. This was caused by constant provocation of Russia by Western neo-liberals.

Chickens coming home to roost.

Don Cox said...

The definition of "neo-liberal" that I found from Googling it is: "favouring policies that promote free-market capitalism, deregulation, and reduction in government spending."

In which case I'm one. Who knew ?

Except that I would replace "capitalism" by "businesses". The word Capitalism has become a vague general insult for anyone who runs a successful business.

Putin, being an extreme control freak, hates the idea that anyone should succeed at anything without his instructions, and is provoked by the mildest criticism. Generally, the countries with the least top-down state control have the healthiest economies. North Korea is the classic case of too much state power, and Putin is dragging Russia in the same direction.


visc said...

@Don 07.50 its currently around 85 to the dollar;

@Anon 09.04 - As far as I can see it goes something like this:

US/EU: Putin = Bad Man, we hereby suspend (steal) access to your foreign reserves in our banks.

Russia: You are unfriendly countries, screw you, pay in Roubles which you cannot seize and can only get from us; By the way GazProm will open a foreign exchange account for you here.

EU:(with no irony): This is piracy!


visc said...


visc said...

.. [starts turning off the taps]

Anonymous said...

So, Mr Visc, you aren't identifying some cunning macro-economic rationale which somehow boosts the Rouble? or dishes the EUR / USD?

Anonymous said...

Whichever way, if Visa/Mastercard/American Express choose to extirpate you from the banking system, because they dislike your politics, then at least there will be alternatives, even if they are provided by the Communist Chinese.
Competition and free markets are a good thing, nyet?

E-K said...

On the appointment of May as PM I am on record here, at the time, as saying she was a plant and that Brexit was over.

BlokeInBrum said...

We can pretty much see how Western Democracy works at this point, and it's not pretty.

We've had recent attempts to overthrow Imran Khan in Pakistan, earlier attempts at destabilising Kyrgyzstan, and an assasination attempt on President Tokayev in Kazakhstan. Of course, we don't know for sure who's behind it, but it certainly looks like the modus operandi of western intelligence organizations.

We had Tory minister James Heappey confirming in Parliamentary questions that we are indeed arming in all likelihood the Neo-Nazis in the Ukrainian army.

It's highly probable that last American Presidential election was stolen from Trump, and even still, the Democrats are attempting by any means neccessary to stop him running again, hence all the song and dance about the phone logs from the Whitehouse during the January 6th fiasco. They are not so fussed about the fact they all lied about the Hunter Biden laptop being Russian disinformation.

The fairytale that we are any less corrupt than third world shitholes is simply wishful thinking.

Whether in America or Britain, it's getting increasingly difficult to maintain the veneer that the Government is acting in the best interests and on behalf of its citizens.

From the insane energy policies, deliberate lack of border controls or the inabilty to confront the nutters that believe that a woman can have a penis, there is nothing there other than utter contempt for ordinary voters.

We will soon see how things pan out when people can't afford to heat their homes, or lose their jobs when the companies they work for go bust. Then things will start to look a bit more sporty.

An extended period of exceedingly high inflation is baked in at this point and the increasingly wild gyrations of the Government to try and deflect blame will fail dismally.

The middle classes with assets will survive ok, the majority, especially the young are going to have to learn the hard way that Governments are not your friend, don't care about you, and don't have your best interests at heart.

Don Cox said...

I'm sure people in Central Asia can manage their assassinations without any help from your bogeyman "western intelligence services". They've had many centuries of practice.

Your main point seems to be that too much money was spent on the Covid pandemic. I think in five or ten years time it will be possible to compare the different methods used by various countries to deal with the virus and see which was more successful. Many of the figures for numbers of cases and deaths are unreliable and need checking.

Large additional spending is almost bound to lead to inflation. Does anyone agree that the current UK interest rate is too low ?


Nick Drew said...

@ Does anyone agree that the current UK interest rate is too low ?

I wish I understood macro-economics ... but I don't

Actually, I wish anybody did ... but they don't, so far as I can tell.

Wildgoose said...

The "Deep State" are now so used to overthrowing governments via "colour revolutions" that they used the same tactics and playbook to eliminate Trump. Hostile media, street "protests", all being stage-managed and coördinated in the background.

Russia is also being targetted and Russia has reacted.

I also find it interesting that no one on this site has thought to comment that Eastern Ukraine has Europe's second largest proven gas reserves after Norway. That will pay for the invasion and simultaneously eliminate a major alternative source of European Gas.

The games that the clowns in charge of the West are playing have harmed our interests to a truly extraordinary extent.

andrew said...

@ Does anyone agree that the current UK interest rate is too low ?

I agree the current rate is wrong.

Macroeconomics(*) is not a science.
It uses the trappings of science - maths and graphs and long words.

But all it is is
Last time this worked lets do it again
Last time this failed lets not

Like weather forecasting, the system is too complex but worse we tend not to do exactly the same thing twice and the rules for the change are equally complex and change - i do think it is turtles all the way down

(*) microeconomics i do have respect for.

Don Cox said...

Last time this failed but it ought to work so let's try it again


Elby the Beserk said...

"Don Cox said...
I'm sure people in Central Asia can manage their assassinations without any help from your bogeyman "western intelligence services". They've had many centuries of practice."

Sadly, the USA, once the top dog of the political assassination, seems to have given this approach up, just when most we need it.

Jan said...


This lady really understands macroeconomics and does a free newslettter. She is gaining a considerable reputation:

visc said...

@Anon 4.42pm: I am sure there are monetary considerations in play, but for the moment I prefer to keep things simple from what we observe. I will say though some interesting moves happening.

@Nick Drew and Andrew: re interests rates I can see we are headed for stagflation but can't see wiggle room that raising rates will choke off inflation without killing things completely. Too low, can't see there is room to raise them a.t.m.

Re macro economics - it has always always fascinated me that models (e.g. DSGE macro models) have such poor predictive power. But then again people see numbers in a spreadsheet / computer models and it automatically acquires a "truth" it doesn't deserve