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In case the Ukrainian crisis doesn't scare you enough, consider this from the New York Times:

The Russian occupation of Crimea has challenged Mr. Obama as has no other international crisis, and at its heart, the advice seemed to pose the same question: Is Mr. Obama tough enough to take on the former K.G.B. colonel in the Kremlin? It is no easy task. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. “In another world,” she said.
http://mobile.nytimes.com/...=
Merkel is not prone to dramatics.  The idea that Putin is not in touch with reality frankly scares the living hell out of me. If read the history of WW1 you find that at its core were a series of misjudgments and misreadings of the other sides intention.  This is, in fact, how most wars starts.  WW2 in this sense is the exception, not the rule.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's How CONVENTIONAL Wars Have Started. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2, 2questions, mookins

    We don't have any track record of wars that occur within our borders transforming broad swaths of the countryside into pools of shimmering molten glass.

    As I commented elsewhere,  the capitalists and crooks in each country's power structures are probably not looking to push that tipping point.

    Seems to me the west has 2 options: sanctions, and evaporation.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:49:38 AM PST

  •  What world was Merkel in when (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    she supported the Iraq Debacle? -  Link:

    Unlike many American supporters of the invasion of Iraq, she has not allowed her earlier mistake of supporting the Iraq war to force her into supporting other unwise wars later on.
    Just sayin'
  •  And Germany is the most Russia-friendly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    katiec, bear83

    of the major E.U. Nations....

    In other news, Russia's Baltic Sea fleet is now conducting maneuvers, as well:

    http://en.itar-tass.com/...

    Poland and the Baltic States are probably very nervous right now and I wouldn't be surprised if they are secretly making preparations for mobilization.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:55:21 AM PST

    •  I doubt it (7+ / 0-)

      Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland are all members of NATO, and an attack on them would invoke Article 5 (an attack on one is considered an attack on all members).

      Part of the geopolitical issue over the Ukraine is that the Russians really don't want it to slide more to the west and become a NATO member. For an analogy, imagine the reaction in the US if Mexico was considering joining the Warsaw Pact in 1970 or so, oh, and they were taking California back.

      •  I think you underestimate the level of wariness (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        riprof, bear83

        and even fear that many Eastern Europeans harbor towards Russia.

        I've been to lots of these countries and Russia is probably the least popular country on most people's lists there.

        And there's a reason for Poland modernizing its military, buying F-16s and German Leopard tanks.

        They all have a long history of being occupied by the Soviet Union and Russia and don't see Russia, under Putin, as being much different from what was before.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:41:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for the link. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence
    •  Euromaidan PR... (0+ / 0-)


      Euromaidan PR has made the claim that Poland is moving tanks.  Unfortunately for Ukraine, it appears from the direction that the shadows are pointing that the tanks are headed westward.  

       

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:46:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't isolate Russia now, that will only increase (0+ / 0-)

    unease, fear.  Reach out to Putin and ask him to show restraint even though we know it is his backyard.  

    People must have freedom.

    It was a great Olympic Games, in Sochi, The Russian Federation,  2014.

  •  Putin is who he is. He knows that the "price" (0+ / 0-)

    to stop him in the Ukraine is greater than the West is willing to pay.  The real leverage against Russia was entry into the G8 and WTO.  Their ascension onto the world stage should have come with strings.

    BTW, I realize how this argument coming from the POTUS could set off a howl of laughter around the world.

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:08:49 AM PST

  •  she's the one in another world (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lordcopper, Mr Robert

    Is she really so delusional as to think that she can get the US and Russia to start WWIII so that the EU can loot Ukraine?

    Putin has called the EU's bluff. Merkel can bluster all she wants about his sanity, but he's in the much stronger position.

    The EU has nothing but sticks to offer Ukraine, and she knows it. The IMF won't touch them until after the elections (maybe not even then). The US is keeping Ukraine afloat for now.

    I doubt Putin wants war. I'm not too sure about Obama (he of "Syria has crossed red lines! Let's bomb!", but even he must see that war with Russia would be catastrophic.

    The 1% don't want a war here. So, we probably won't get one.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:10:21 AM PST

  •  For Putin, status and 'toughness' are all. (0+ / 0-)

    This is what the Neocon chickenhawks just don't comprehend when they recommend yet another pissing contest.

    Russia suffered a catastrophic collapse in morale, in influence, in standard of living, life expectancy...in virtually every measure of State function. And to Russians, the genocidal losses they suffered in WWII happened just yesterday.

    It's more important for Putin and for Russia to reassert some semblance of local dominance and control than to behave as 'rational actors'

    By publicly confronting Putin and making demands, we will invite conflict, because there is no way for him to back down. He and Russia in general would much rather provoke a regional war than back down and throw away what little fear and respect they have managed to regain since the dark days of Yeltsin.

  •  It's a Bush level error, imv. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dodgerdog1, riprof

    So yes, he's insane. An especially dumb move considering all the expense and effort to host the Olympic games.

    It will hurt him in the long run. It already has. Nobody will trust Russia, now.

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

    by Cpqemp on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:26:28 AM PST

  •  3..2..1.. Anschluß /nt (0+ / 0-)

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:03:04 AM PST

  •  Totally understandable from Russian viewpoint (0+ / 0-)

    to protect people in Crimian and their base consider what is taking place in Ukraine. "West" should help with the situation in Ukraine instead of cold-war rethoric.

    •  Protect them from what? (0+ / 0-)

      Democracy?

      There's was no imminent danger to Russians in Crimea or the rest of Ukraine. Putin just didn't like the political trend and losing his puppet president in Kiev.

      Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

      by bear83 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:11:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's not really true (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, milkbone
    If read the history of WW1 you find that at its core were a series of misjudgments and misreadings of the other sides intention.
    Germany didn't launch the Schleiffen Plan on a misunderstanding of anyone's intention.  Their intention was to shift the balance of power in Europe and open up sea ports so they could build their empire.  France misread which direction the heaviest blow was coming from but they didn't misread German intentions.  Nor did Germany in recognizing that France was aiming directly at taking back Alsace Lorraine.  

    We've developed a mushy, relativistic view of the War.  I think it's worth remembering that the reason there was such a war is because there were leaders who genuinely wanted a war.  

    When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

    by Sun dog on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:05:33 AM PST

  •  I hate this question (6+ / 0-)
    Is Mr. Obama tough enough to take on the former K.G.B. colonel in the Kremlin?
    It's not a prize fight, mano a mano. This is bullshit framing worthy of Sarah Palin.

    Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

    by bear83 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:14:00 AM PST

  •  Its an old trick (0+ / 0-)

    Nixon tried it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

    by bywaterbob on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 09:47:57 AM PST

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