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Yesterday I wrote a diary expressing my opinion about the conflict in Ukraine.  My main point in that diary was to call attention to the fact that there were (and are) multiple factors that contributed to the crisis; that it is a very complicated situation; that there are several competing interests, inside Ukraine, in neighboring Russia, and the West, including the United States.

One key area I called attention to was the fact that I've notice what I consider to be some sort of talking points propagated by the U.S. media basically painting Putin as a deranged (crazy) authoritarian dictator out of touch with reality.  And my point was that anybody who came to view the situation in those (simplistic) terms would be missing other very important aspects related to the circumstances that led to the current crisis.

I also pointed out that some fascist and neo-nazi elements were now part of the governing coalition (at ministerial levels) that has been supported by the West (including the United States).  And I referenced an op-ed in The Guardian supporting that assertion.

After reading several articles and papers about the subject, both from mainstream media sources and from independent/alternative news sources I've come to the conclusion that the West's hands in this whole mess are not clean.  I've concluded that there has been a shock doctrine-type destabilization campaign, and that in the mix of it all, there are some (neo-liberal) financial interests in play, and that's where the IMF is playing a role.

I'm also fully aware that Putin's Russia is violating all kinds of international laws by invading Crimea...

In the comment thread of the diary I wrote yesterday some folks were claiming that I was saying that everything bad that happens in the world is the U.S. fault.  As I and many other commenters pointed out, nowhere in the diary do I even insinuate such an absurdity.

I think one of the key paragraphs I wrote in that diary is this one:

So you see, there is more to the story; it's more complicated, more nuanced than just saying that Putin is "crazy," which is a meme/talking point spreading throughout the mainstream media like wildfire.  And the irony... It seems like Western intervention helped precipitate a coup d'etat in Ukraine, helping fascist and neo-nazi elements become part of the new government coalition (along with a new set of oligarchs).
That is still my position, and given the multiple sources of information I've consulted, I stand by it.

However, for argument's sake, I'd like to examine one issue which I consider to be the elephant in the room when it comes to this conflict...

Is it the position of some that in this geopolitical drama/conflict Putin is the obvious bad (and crazy, out of touch with reality) guy, and the U.S. and the West are the (mostly) good guys who's only sin may have been supporting the efforts of anti-corruption, pro-democracy factions in Ukraine rising up against a corrupt Russian puppet?

Okay, so let's push that argument further and assume that those who hold that view may also believe that there were no nefarious intentions regarding the steps the U.S. and the West were taking to help the opposition and that the promise to help the new government with IMF loans was not a neo-liberal plot, but much-needed funding that would have helped them get back on their feet.

Let's assume, for argument's sake, that the U.S. and the West are mainly benevolent in their intentions and that the clear bad guy is Putin.

Now, here's the question: Even under the assumption that the U.S. and Western allies were on the up and up, just trying to be helpful, is it really that hard to believe that Russia would see these steps (including the talk about eventually bringing Ukraine into the NATO alliance) as a provocation, and that they may react in the way they did?

Maybe my thinking is way off the scales, but if you were to describe the situation to me (months ago) I would say, "Well, of course if the pro-Russian president of Ukraine is deposed and the new government moves to make the Russian language illegal, there is talk about IMF loans, and about possibly joining NATO, Putin is going to make a move."

I mean, I see that as common sense; something that at least should be seen as a high possibility.  I'm not seeing it as right or wrong (in this context), but as realpolitik.

But let's put all that stuff aside for a second; let's put aside the debate about who is right or wrong about the U.S. and western allies intentions.  The issue now is this: Now that Putin seems to be in the process of annexing Crimea (something I see at this point as fait accompli), what is the West prepared to do to confront that situation other than threatening economic sanctions?

And regarding economic sanctions, what happens if Putin ups the ante and counter-attacks by declaring all foreign dept null and void?  What happens if Putin makes a further move on Ukraine proper?

And here's the key question: If Putin gets away with annexing Crimea and the West ends up backing down (after weeks of tough-talk but little action in the face of a potential world-wide economic crisis), would not those who may have been encouraged by the West to depose the pro-Russian government/president feel betrayed?

I'm fully aware that things are changing very fast and that this is indeed a very dangerous situation that could quickly get out of control.  Nevertheless, if what ends up happening is that Russia annexes Crimea (which again, I think it's pretty much a done deal) and continues to exert influence in Ukraine (for the foreseeable future), and the U.S. and the West end up backing down (which I think is what's going to happen), would not that be a huge black eye for the West?

You see, I'm not interested on demonizing or lionizing anybody.  I'm just trying to look at the world as it really is when it comes to these international conflicts and geopolitical dynamics.

And that's why I can't bring myself to embrace what I believe is an infantile position by saying that Putin is crazy, and a bad person, and that the West is playing the good guy in this situation.  I don't fall for the bogeymen worldview.

Bottom line: If the State Department was advising president Obama about how smooth things would go after Yanukovych fled to Russia, they utterly failed him.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ray (20+ / 0-)

    What exactly IS your point?

    Because you ain't making any.

    This:

    And that's why I can't bring myself to embrace what I believe is an infantile position by saying that Putin is crazy, and a bad person
    This should appear in a dictionary as an illustration of "strawman".
    •  Very simple: This situation can't be characterized (11+ / 0-)

      as one where all blame is assigned to one crazy person, in this case, Putin, as our media would have us believe.

      The West played a role in bringing it to a head.

    •  Come'on. How can anyone not see... (15+ / 0-)

      how Ukraine fits into the latest iteration of the old [unfortunately] still alive PNAC doctrine?

      Ask yourself one question. Does Ukraine have oil? (or in this case natural gas)

      Here's my personal favorite characterization demonization of Putin. (courtesy of Mark Halperin, who is channeling Angela Merkel of Germany)

      Dealing with someone as unpredictable as Vladimir Putin is like playing Russian roulette, according to political analyst Mark Halperin.

      "It’s almost like dealing with the North Koreans,” Halperin said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday. “It’s Russian roulette with a guy who is just unstable and isn’t going to play by the right rules.”

      Halperin, editor at large and senior political analyst for TIME, cited concerns that Russia's president was not in touch with reality and mentioned a call between President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

      People briefed on the call told The New York Times that Merkel said Putin was "in another world." The report could not be independently confirmed by NBC News.

      Halperin called the quote attributed to Merkel “the scariest thing I’ve seen in the last 24 hours.”

      “President [Ronald] Reagan never faced a Soviet leader like this. This guy is ruthless,” Halperin added.

      The destabilization of Ukraine is a neocon wet dream. And now they're poking the Bear. How would you expect Putin to react? He's an ex-KGB, authoritarian dictator, and he's trying to stay in power.

      But he's not CrAzY

      'Cuz freedom can't protect itself ~~ EFF ~ EPIC ~ ACLU

      by markthshark on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 01:46:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly.. and as I pointed out in (7+ / 0-)

        another diary-- should we be surprised Putin is paranoid? why he does not want the Ukraine to be a member of NATO?

        what happened not long after the end of WWII? our military basically surrounded Russia with bases, with missiles pointed at them-- we had to do this to "stop/contain the spread of Communism".

        "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

        by Superpole on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 04:26:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  At some point, didn't we make a promise... (5+ / 0-)

          to not expand NATO to the east?

          'Cuz freedom can't protect itself ~~ EFF ~ EPIC ~ ACLU

          by markthshark on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 04:42:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Please don't let facts get in the way (6+ / 0-)

          of your argument:

          what happened not long after the end of WWII? our military basically surrounded Russia with bases, with missiles pointed at them--
          Who occupied Poland, Hungary, Romania, the Baltic states, East Germany and surrounding areas for 45 years after WW2, installing puppet regimes and crushing all dissent? Russia.

          Western Europe wanted American troops there to defend them from the threat posed by Russia.

          Did Poland or the Baltic states or the rest of Eastern Europe welcome the Russian occupation? No.

          Defending our European allies from Russian aggression 70 years ago does not excuse Putin's paranoia, or his occupation of Ukraine.

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

          by bear83 on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 09:41:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wrong, the Soviet Union did these things. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ray Pensador

            Why was Western Europe afraid of Russia?

            You can't equate the collapsed gov't of the Soviet Union to Russia afterwards.

            -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

            by gerrilea on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 01:49:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry but Europe was fearful of (0+ / 0-)

              Russia long before the Soviet Union.

              Are you familiar with the phrases "the Gendarme of Europe" and "the prison house of Nations"?

              There are long histories involved here. Events in the 20th century are just the tip of the ice berg.

              Nothing human is alien to me.

              by WB Reeves on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 02:09:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I understand history but didn't the Russian (0+ / 0-)

                people cut their heads off during the 1917 Revolution?

                The same players that instilled fear and loathing are long dead.

                This isn't about fear, it's about control.  Who will control these lands to do with them as they please.

                The Ukraine is the second largest nation in Europe behind Russia by area.

                How A Fight Over Natural Resources Is Quietly Driving The World’s Response To Ukraine

                To compare Russia today to some Czarist Russia of the past is propaganda meant to obfuscate the facts on the ground, right now.

                I do not agree with the "framing".  The facts tell us otherwise.

                -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                by gerrilea on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 06:48:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The point is that there is a long history (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Hey338Too, serendipityisabitch

                  of conflict between Russia and various European nations. So it's hardly surprising that some might fear Russian intentions.

                  It's easy to understand why Russian intervention in Ukraine might make Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, etc., nervous, not to mention the rest of Europe.

                  Nothing human is alien to me.

                  by WB Reeves on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 07:50:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't deny their fears, whether real or imagined (0+ / 0-)

                    but the United States, our gov't, created this situation.  Did we think the Russians would just walk away from their military bases in the Crimea?

                    And our policy of "containment" is code for a continuation of our worldwide economic subjugation at the hands of our corporate overlords.

                    It's not about "bringing democracy" or protecting the actual people of the Ukraine or Europe.

                    Enforcing American Hegemony.

                    -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                    by gerrilea on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 08:12:23 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  You say potAto (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              debedb

              I say potato.

              Soviet Union / Russia - both authoritarian regimes, both feared by Europe.

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

              by bear83 on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 06:39:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Why is Putin in Crimea? (7+ / 0-)

        Do you think he has a legitimate claim to invade a sovereign country?

      •  So "neocons" now control both the EU & Obama? (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cedwyn, dpinzow, bear83, Yasuragi, btfsilence

        Major CT alert.

        BTW, Ukraine has no, or no significant, natural gas. That's a major source of Russian imperialist leverage over the country.

        Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

        by another American on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 08:00:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  PNAC SHMNAC (0+ / 0-)

        if PNAC happens to agree with normal people in Ukraine, then I say more power to PNAC in this instance.

      •  PNAC connections to Ukraine! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador

        Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, career diplomat, and major player in the Ukrainian actions, is very close to PNAC.  

        But first since her father, Sherwin B. Nuland, just died this past week, I want to say RIP.

        Nuland's husband, Robert Kagan, a neo-conservative, is one of the co-founders of PNAC.  Nuland has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations going back to Bill Clinton.

        During the George W. Bush administration, she served as the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and then as U.S. ambassador to NATO.
        Serving mostly in the State Department since Obama came into office,
        Victoria Nuland spoke at "Ukraine in Washington 2013" conference organized by US-Ukraine Foundation on December 13th 2013. The aim of the presentation was to announce Washington’s plan to provide funding in order to install ’a good form of democracy’: "Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the United States has...invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine
        But these good intentions have taken on different shades of gray since Nuland's Feb. 6, 2014 phone conversation with Geoffrey R. Pyaytt, the US. Ambassador to Ukraine, was leaked    Listen and watch ( F...the EU is at 3:00):

        And our "preferred" choice, Arseny Yatsenyuk (Fatherland Party) has been installed!

        Condolences to Victoria Nuland and her family for the loss of their father and to all those who have lost loved ones in the Ukraine.  May the killings stop now.

        "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

        by dharmasyd on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 04:33:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps this piece from CNN... (0+ / 0-)

          ...might throw some light on why the animosity from V. Nuland and DOS toward UN:

          (CNN) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says neo-fascist far-right groups are firmly behind the putsch -- coup d'etat -- in Kiev
          ...snip
          Does this assessment have any truth to it?
          ...snip
          There are some known facts: First, far-right, anti-Semitic, anti-Russian and openly fascist groups have existed and do exist as a blight on modern Ukraine. A 2012 European Parliament resolution condemned the main -- but by no means most extreme -- ultra-right party, Svoboda, as "racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic."

          See for yourselves at:
          Rein in Ukraine's neo-fascists

          It IS a complicated situation.

          "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

          by dharmasyd on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 06:00:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  neofscists (0+ / 0-)

            first, http://www.jta.org/...

            second, how many 'russian marches' have you seen in russia? how many minorities are attached every day i russia?

            putin says
            pfeh.

            •  I prefer Haaretz to JTA! n/t (0+ / 0-)

              "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

              by dharmasyd on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 09:53:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I prefer (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dharmasyd

                people on the ground

                and?

                •  Oh My Dear, Dear Deb... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...I am a human being , and I am certain you are also.  It would be nice to be able to treat each other that way instead of cheering things like "Ruskie, Ruskie Uber Alles," "USA, USA, Numero Uno," or "Zion, Zion Uber Alles."

                  I am on the side of evolution, not one nation, not one group, not one race, not one color.  

                  But I'm finding it difficult to talk with you.  Sorry about that.  Please keep trying.

                  "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                  by dharmasyd on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 10:34:41 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't quite understand what your point is (0+ / 0-)

                    though :)

                    let's start over.

                    your move.

                    •  Hello. (0+ / 0-)

                      I'm dharmasyd.  I can see good things and bad things about myself.  I can see good things and bad things about Putin.  I can see good things and bad things about Obama & U.S. foreign policy.  I can see good things and bad things about Netanyahu and Zionism as far back as we want to go.

                      My point is: We need to see the good and bad in all of us.  For example, I find it sad to see the Jews who were so brutalized by Hitler, treat the people in Jenin as they were treated in the Warsaw ghetto --- to name just 2 small (?) instances.

                      "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                      by dharmasyd on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 12:02:35 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  let's go (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        dharmasyd

                        to the good things about putin that you see
                        :)

                        •  deb... (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          debedb

                          I will respond, but today has been horrendously filledl  So please forgive me and keep looking for my response.  TY!

                          "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                          by dharmasyd on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:17:47 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  It's all so amazing... (0+ / 0-)

                            Thanks for this.  I'll be back!

                            "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                            by dharmasyd on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 12:02:30 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I read your Shekhovtsov blog... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...Suggestion.  Frankly, I don't know what I think of him other than that he seems a bit wild!  I did find this in Metapedia:

                            Anton Shekhovtsov

                            Anton Shekhovtsov is a communist political activist, who presents himself as an academic and "expert" on fascism, nationalism, traditionalism and other such movements. He is known to be a Red Holocaust denier, specifically in relation to the Holodomor crimes against the Ukrainian people, carried out under Lazar Kaganovich and has agitated against cultural groups trying to preserve their memory.[1] Despite this he himself claims to be Ukrainian from Sevastopol, Crimea, whether he is from a Khazar background or not is unclear.

                            I do read the blog he speaks of very negatively, Global Research in Canada, and I like their perspective on many things.  I have a good friend who writes for the, Peter Dale Scott.  

                            But mainly, I must tell you that I am unable to do the kind of research I think would be required to keep up with you and your ideas.  I'm 81, have emphysema, am on an electrically powered nebulizer 4 Xs a day, and on oxygen.

                            Our management at the HUD subsidized Section 8 apartment where I live, is being very abusive.  I think they might try to evict me because I refuse to do what they want all of us to do -- a serious malfeasance of justice.  So I need to tend to my own problems right now ---  Because I just can't keep up time-wise.

                            So, I'll trade off one article in exh=change for the Shekhovtsov piece.  You asked what I saw to be positive about Putin, I will let Paul Craig Roberts speak for me.  Roberts was an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in Ronald Reagan's Administration.  But he has changed a lot since then.  I call him a "recovering republican."

                            Here's "Putin Speaks"  

                            But I really can't judge, and my time is too consumed right now to be able to devote a lot of time to research someone I've never even heard of.  I'm 81, have emhysema, am on oxygen and an electrically powered nebulizer 4 Xs a day.  

                            Best wishes,

                            dharmasyd

                            "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                            by dharmasyd on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:32:30 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  no worries (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            dharmasyd

                            I wish you best. Those problems are more important as they are local to you - I wish I knew a housing lawyer who can help you...

                            The maidan people's problems are also local, in fact. This is what's frustrating.

                            Good luck!

                          •  Thanks so much! (0+ / 0-)

                            I do have a pro bono attorney lined up, but I have to have eviction papers in hand before he can work with me.  but he has heard my story.

                            Also, I think you might like a video I found a month back called "Klezmer in Kiev."  If you can't find it, I'll look it up when I return...I'm out the door!

                            "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                            by dharmasyd on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 01:51:10 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

    •  Not really. Start with Angela Merkel's comment (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, Dianna, catullus, Ray Pensador

      that Putin has lost his mind. The MSM has run with that. There have been multiple "analyses" that question Putin's stability.
        Also, it is a feature of US propaganda to allege that the enemy du jour is crazy. If he's crazy, he can't be reasoned with and therefore we need to use force or, at least, to overthrow his "regime."
        The idea that Russia has a complex government and is a rational power asserting its national interests isn't so useful at getting the population whipped up to war fervor.

    •  That is not a strong counter-argument (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador, gerrilea, Lepanto

      I have no love for Putin, but the fascist takeover of Ukraine and the attacks on synagogues in Crimea do not bode well for the future of the region. The Russians in Crimea (which used to be part of Russia anyway) asked Putin for aid--granting it does not make Putin crazy.

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 10:31:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Funny how that attack on a synagogue in Crimea (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        debedb, btfsilence, fcvaguy, Hey338Too

        didn't happen until Russian troops invaded and national chauvinist, pro-Russian militia with strong anti-semite tendencies became active.....

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

        by Lawrence on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 02:02:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The irony is that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence, Hey338Too, debedb

          a fascistic, nationalistic and xenophobic government is far more likely to arise in Crimea than in Ukraine. Look who is in charge:

          Russian Unity is led by Sergey Aksyonov, who is the self-declared Prime Minister of Crimea since February 27, 2014, having gained that position during the 2014 Crimean crisis. The government of Ukraine does not recognize his position and has launched a criminal investigation on his activity.
          The Russia Unity Party was never able to gain more than single digits in Crimean elections, yet he and his party are now in charge in Crimea.

          And here you can learn more about what a real coup looks like and the role Aksyonov, aka The Goblin, played in it:

          http://metronews.ca/...

          KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

          by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 03:28:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Who specifically in Crimea asked for the aid? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        debedb

        KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

        by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 03:19:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ray's point... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador, debedb

      ...it seems to me is to ask for balance.  We must grow beyond the grade school simplistic judgements which say "I'm right.  The other guy's to blame."  Evolution and the survival of life on earth depend on our learning and growing beyond the childishness of blaming the other guy.  

      The world is too dangerous now to engage in name calling, in simplisticly blaming the other guy.  We need to recognize our own shortcomings, not just the faults of the other.  We need to recognize our good qualities, and admit our mistakes.  We need to recognize both the good qualities and the mistakes of the other.  This is the only way to make progress forward.

      This is the current demand of evolution.  It is not easy, but the first step is to recognize that we are not 100% correct and the other guy is not totally to blame.

      Fair and Balanced!!!

      "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

      by dharmasyd on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 02:58:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Math: 7x if + 7x would, 2x for argument's sake (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic, Cedwyn, doroma, Yasuragi

    = [in the words of the fabulous Billy Preston]

    Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

    by earicicle on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:30:51 AM PST

  •  I'm not sure how to quantify a "black eye" in (12+ / 0-)

    this context.

    Naturally there's a certain diminution of prestige in the wake of empty bluster but I don't see much beyond that. At the end of the day Russia has will have retained a "client state" on it's border and the US will have failed to make its writ run in Moscow. Essentially status quo ante as far as the balance of power goes.

    This, of course, assumes that events do not outrun the diplomats.

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 01:03:16 AM PST

  •  It is hard for many to understand the current (12+ / 0-)

    situation without knowing the history, the media has brushed over that with the broad brush of us v them.

    The US tends to think of Europe as Russia as uniform and monolithic blocks, they are about as far from that as you can get. Most of the history over here is about how everyone has fought everyone else at some point in time. The cultural animosity and memory of those battles is still strong.

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 01:29:27 AM PST

  •  Not even wrong. (27+ / 0-)
    If Putin gets away with annexing Crimea and the West ends up backing down (after weeks of tough-talk but little action in the face of a potential world-wide economic crisis), would not those who may have been encouraged by the West to depose the pro-Russian government/president feel betrayed?
    Begging the question.  You may think the West was behind the protests, based on whatever misinformation you're getting, but the Ukrainian opposition has not been expressing that viewpoint, so why would they feel betrayed?  Have you tried looking for discussions of Ukrainian opinion on this?

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 01:37:38 AM PST

    •  I suppose that would depend on which Ukranians (5+ / 0-)

      you ask, I seem to remember there have been elections in Ukraine and both [many] "sides" seem to have had their chance at some point. I also seem to remember Stepan Bandera being honored by the first election winners and despised by the second.

      I would say Putin's hands are probably dirtier than our own, but by how much is debatable.

      As with all of this, the politicians say something and I bet the people say many things and what you hear depends on who you are listening to.

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 01:46:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I haven't heard a viewpoint from the... (5+ / 0-)

      'opposition' -- just members of the Ukraine government.

      but the Ukrainian opposition has not been expressing that viewpoint
      Begging the question: Just who is the opposition? Why haven't the West paraded out any of the Ukrainian opposition leaders for the press to interview and put in the spotlight in order to get support?

      Or, did I miss something?

      'Cuz freedom can't protect itself ~~ EFF ~ EPIC ~ ACLU

      by markthshark on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 03:00:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's Ray's frame, not mine. (9+ / 0-)

        He's asking whether the people we stoked to revolution will resent us for not following through.  I'm unaware of any Ukrainians who feel they were stoked, so it doesn't make sense as a question.  If you or the diarist can offer some clarity here, I'd appreciate it.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 03:02:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Skepticism about Western involvement is healthy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic, Lawrence

        ... but it's not really applicable in this case.  The pro-Western, erstwhile "Orange" forces have been around since the last revolution ten years ago.  They've been compromised by the Yuschenko/Tymoshenko spectacle of in-fighting in the interim, and were quashed into submission by the Yanukovych government for the past four years, but they are not new.  They have wanted to see Ukraine untangle itself from Russian dependency and orient itself into the West for some time.

        Now, is this "transitional" government too one-sided a pendulum swing in the other direction?  Yeah, and hopefully that can still be fixed, either by negotiating a unity government or by refraining from drastic, provocative moves (like the thankfully vetoed Russian language primacy legislation) until elections can be held.  Are there worrisome far-right elements who have surfaced in the protestors' victory lap and who now hold official posts?  Indeed, unfortunately, although one would hope that early elections would help ensure that they recede into the background once more once their parties fail to clear parliamentary thresholds.  But I think it does a disservice to the protesters who have pounded the pavement and camped in freezing winter temperatures for months to assume it was all a puppet show orchestrated by a West that has been pretty feckless everywhere else.

        I'm not sure which leaders you haven't seen.  Tymoshenko, who is no angel herself, has put herself back into the spotlight, for better or worse, and remains very popular (and founded the party now running the transitional government)  The new prime minister, Yatsunyak, is youthful and personable, and has been asserting himself for some time.  Klitschko, a well-known boxer, marketing himself as a political newcomer in contrast to the compromised old guard, has already been campaigning pretty aggressively as a presidential candidate.

        •  Yatseniuk (4+ / 0-)

          has run 4 times for the top slot, and lost 4 times.  He was impeached as speaker once.

          He supports cutting pensions and heating fuel subsidies to the Ukranian poor.

          I would say he is ideal to rally the support of the Ukranian people to a bright and secure future.

          heckuva job, Victoria.

          •  I didn't give an endorsement. (0+ / 0-)

            Just providing some names.

            What's your preferred outcome in Ukraine, by the way?

            •  Preferred outcome in Ukraine? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SeltzerDuke, Ray Pensador

              It really is broader than that.  This has global consequences.

              My perspective is one of an American Citizen, with American interests at issue, principally.  

              What I prefer, what would be satisfactory, and what I think is achievable, do differ.  

              A non kinetic resolution, primarily.  When elephants dance, the mice get crushed.  

               And some sort of resolution  that isn't so fragile, that it threatens to implode into something nasty and kinetic later.

              I think maintaining territorial integrity in Ukraine is important.  Changes in borders driven by military actions are a real bad precedent.

              I think a sort of status quo ante would work, with Ukraine, by mutual agreement between Russia and the EU/US, is acknowledged as a "non-bloc" or non aligned nation, with Ukraine committing to not joining NATO/EU or Russias Eurasia Bloc for some period, or allowing foreign basing of troops, and Russia agreeing to limit its military presence in the Crimea Naval base to the current agreement, extended for same period as the non alignment provisions.  Russia is building an alternative black sea port, but it wont be ready for another 10 years.

              Ukraine obviously has deep economic and structural, and  political challenges, and wherever possible, we should aid their efforts to improve the civil society, shortcomings and conditions for all Ukranians.  But our aid should be decidedly apolitical.  

              eventually, I think Ukraine will join in economic union with the rest of Europe.   But forcing it now, I think is ill advised.    

            •  I know you didn't endorse (3+ / 0-)

              But our Asst Secy of State for Eurasia did, who acts in our name, so sort of, yes, we all endorsed him.  And we will bear the consequences of that endorsement, good or bad.

    •  The US dumped money into training (4+ / 0-)

      people to "spread democracy". We may not be behind the protests, but pretending like we've done nothing to encourage them makes no sense at all.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 09:36:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd bet our fascist and neo-nazi have more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, Yasuragi

    governing power (and seem to <3 Putin presently), so that little nugget won't weigh.

  •  Nice to see that you are repeating Kremlin lies: (17+ / 0-)
    Maybe my thinking is way off the scales, but if you were to describe the situation to me (months ago) I would say, "Well, of course if the pro-Russian president of Ukraine is deposed and the new government moves to make the Russian language illegal, there is talk about IMF loans, and about possibly joining NATO, Putin is going to make a move."
    No such thing took place.  Nobody in Kiev even proposed making the Russian language illegal.  That is flat-out Kremlin media propaganda and it makes me wonder what your "alternative/independent media sources" actually are.

    I also find it interesting that those who continually wring their hands about ultra-nationalists being a small part of the temporary govt. in Kiev are paying little attention to the fact that Russia is employing Cossack and other Russian and pro-Russian national chauvinists to take over Crimea and create unrest in eastern Ukraine.  Like the pro-Russian, self-proclaimed governor of Donetsk, who turned out to be a Russian fascist:

    It turned out that Pavel Gubarev, a pro-Russian separatist from Donetsk who declared himself a “people’s governor” used to be a member of a very distinct organization called Russian National Unity (or the Barkashovites).

    “During rallies, he used to talk to old ladies about the importance of fighting against the Nazis and the Banderites. Recalling their Soviet past, the retirees applauded enthusiastically and cried “Assault!” I believe that the old ladies who used to be members of the Komsomol [Soviet Young Communist League], should see these photographs,” writes pauluskp, a well-known blogger in Donetsk.

    Russian National Unity (RNU) is a Russian far-right nationalist and paramilitary organization founded in 1990 by Aleksandr Barkashov,  also called the “Barkashov’s Guards.” RNU members were repeatedly accused of carrying firearms illegally and murders of non-Russian nationals, in particular, a lawyer Stanislav Markelov and a journalist Anastasia Baburova.

    http://maidantranslations.com/...

    I am curious, Ray, have you consulted any Ukrainians on what is going on in Ukraine?

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

    by Lawrence on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 03:52:37 AM PDT

    •  Independent Ukraine (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pale Jenova, Ray Pensador

      after 1992 quickly moved to ban all Russian schools and Yanukovich's minister Tabachnik promised to open some, but he could not.

      Linguistical discrimination should be familiar things for Anglo-saxon countries and Chinese which banned use of native languages by indigenous tribes.

    •  You mean this "lie"? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador

      Russian Language Law

      Ukraine’s swift abolition of the law allowing the country’s regions to make Russian a second official language has worried European MPs and officials, and has been condemned outright as a “violation of ethnic minority rights” by Russian diplomats.
      Right, so Europe was in on the so-called "lie."

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 10:36:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It wasn't a law to make Russian illegal (4+ / 0-)

        It was a law to make it not an official language. While the latter is bad, it isn't the same as making it illegal to speak Russian by any stretch of the imagination.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 10:39:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are correct (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, Ray Pensador

          And it wouldn't surprise me that Putin would exaggerate. But it is an ominous step, given history. (Though "English-only" jokers here in the US should love it.)

          BTW, off topic, I wonder about all the Putin-love from the right wing in this country. I never thought Sarah Palin could outdo herself, until she popped out with the bear rasslin' word salad . . .

          And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

          by Pale Jenova on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 10:47:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It was an ominous step to be sure (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pale Jenova, Ray Pensador

            language is a very important part of who people are and making a language illegal and crushing a language has been a long time method of suppression of a people. Making it illegal as an official language could have the first step down a worse path.

            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

            by AoT on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 11:14:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Putin is not crazy, but I suspect that underneath (8+ / 0-)

    it all he is still guided by a Marxist reading of historical forces.

    Putin (by bad and good means) managed to put Russia in some sort of order after the collapse of the USSR and the disaster of the Yeltsin years. He did so first of all by cutting down to size the home-grown predator-capitalists (aka the oligarchs).

    He now quite possibly looks on what's happening in the Ukraine as the beginning of an assault on Russia itself by transnational predator-capitalism with Nato as its right arm and IMF/World Bank as its left arm.

    He's doing what he can to block this, principally by trying to keep Ukraine (or at least some parts of it - Crimea and perhaps its predominantly Russia eastern areas around Kharkov and Donetz) as a buffer zone. Whether the tactics he has chosen to do so will succeed or not remains to be seen. But I really can't see the West getting into a shooting war with Russia over Crimea,

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 03:55:05 AM PDT

    •  Right-- and While Many in Bloggo World (5+ / 0-)

      prefer to ignore history, I doubt Putin does.

      he knows very well after the end of WW II the U.S. wasted little time building bases in Europe, effectively surrounding Russia.. our missiles pointed right at them, and still pointed at them.

      it's a no brainer he doesn't want this in the Ukraine.

      "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

      by Superpole on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 04:32:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not Marxist. Russian. (6+ / 0-)

      Putin isn't pursuing a foreign policy of world revolution by the workers. He's pursuing the traditional imperialist foreign policy of the Russian empire.

      It's an easy mistake to make because, despite all their highfalutin' language, so were the alleged Marxists running the Soviet Union. Hans Morganthau pointed this out in the late 1940s.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 08:50:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can apply a Marxist style reading (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WB Reeves

        to political events without being a Marxists. In many ways that's what the Neocons do. Either way, they can use the tools Marx provided as a means of repressing the workers instead of working toward their liberation. Leninists and Stalinists did this in many ways as well.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 10:17:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, here's what Russian anarchists say: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, serendipityisabitch

          It's a completely different story than what we're hearing on dkos:

          On the background of the next round of the impending economic crisis in Russia, the regime is trying to stoking Russian nationalism to divert attention from the growing workers' socio-economic problems: poverty wages and pensions, dismantling of available health care, education and other social services. In the thunder of the nationalist and militant rhetoric it is easier to complete the formation of a corporate, authoritarian state based on reactionary conservative values and repressive policies.

          In Ukraine, the acute economic and political crisis has led to increased confrontation between "old" and "new" oligarchic clans, and the first used including ultra-rightist and ultra-nationalist formations for making a state coup in Kiev. The political elite of Crimea and eastern Ukraine does not intend to share their power and property with the next in turn Kiev rulers and trying to rely on help from the Russian government. Both sides resorted to rampant nationalist hysteria: respectively, Ukrainian and Russian. There are armed clashes, bloodshed. The Western powers have their own interests and aspirations, and their intervention in the conflict could lead to World War III.

          Warring cliques of bosses force, as usual, force to fight for their interests us, ordinary people: wage workers, unemployed, students, pensioners... Making us drunkards of nationalist drug, they set us against each other, causing us forget about our real needs and interests: we don`t and can`t care about their "nations" where we are now concerned more vital and pressing problems – how to make ends meet in the system which they found to enslave and oppress us.

          http://libcom.org/...

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:09:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Warring cliques of bosses force" (0+ / 0-)

            Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

            http://www.theguardian.com/...

            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

            by AoT on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:13:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Indeed. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              and?

              Not sure what your point is vis-a-vis my comment.

              "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

              by ZhenRen on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:25:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Just agreeing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ZhenRen

                and expanding a little bit with more sources on the oligarchs. Probably not the best article to post.

                If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                by AoT on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:47:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I can really understand why Russian anarchists (0+ / 0-)

                  wouldn't like Putin:

                  There is a school of thought, which says that a number of Putin's steps in the economy (notably the fate of Yukos) were signs of a shift toward a system normally described as state capitalism,[56][57][58] where "the entirety of state-owned and controlled enterprises are run by and for the benefit of the cabal around Putin — a collection of former KGB colleagues, Saint Petersburg lawyers, and other political cronies."[59]

                  According to Andrei Illarionov, advisor of Vladimir Putin until 2005, Putin's regime was a new socio-political order, "distinct from any seen in our country before": members of the Corporation of Intelligence Service Collaborators had taken over the entire body of state power, followed an omerta-like behavior code, and were "given instruments conferring power upon others – membership “perks”, such as the right to carry and use weapons". According to Illarionov, this "Corporation has seized key government agencies – the Tax Service, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Parliament, and the government-controlled mass media – which are now used to advance the interests of [Corporation] members. Through those agencies, every significant resource in the country – security/intelligence, political, economic, informational and financial – is being monopolized in the hands of Corporation members"[60]

                  Members of the Corporation formed an isolated caste. According to an anonymous former KGB general cited by The Economist, “A Chekist is a breed <…> A good KGB heritage—a father or grandfather, say, who worked for the service—is highly valued by today's siloviki. Marriages between siloviki clans are also encouraged.[61]

                  Jason Bush, chief of the Moscow bureau of the magazine Business Week has commented in December 2006 on troubling in his opinion growth of government's role: "The Kremlin has taken control of some two dozen Russian companies since 2004, including oil assets from Sibneft and Yukos, as well as banks, newspapers, and more. Despite his sporadic support for pro-market reforms, Putin has backed national champions such as energy concerns Gazprom and Rosneft. The private sector's share of output fell from 70% to 65% last year, while state-controlled companies now represent 38% of stock market capitalization, up from 22% a year ago."[54]

                  The Financial Times on 20 September 2008, when the global financial crisis had started to hit the well-being of Russia's top tycoons, said: "Putinism was built on the understanding that if tycoons played by Kremlin rules they would prosper."[62]

                  Although Russia's state intervention in the economy had been usually criticized in the West, a study by Bank of Finland’s Institute for Economies in Transition (BOFIT) in 2008 showed that state intervention had had a positive impact to corporate governance of many companies in Russia: the formal indications of the quality of corporate governance in Russia were higher in companies with state control or with a stake held by the government.[63]

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

                  "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                  by ZhenRen on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:54:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  According to Russian anarchists (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      btfsilence

      Putin is using a capitalist analysis: Diverting attention away from problems by fomenting nationalism. Russia was never truly socialist, it was state capitalism. Russia is well practiced at playing the global capitalist game. We can become so concious of American and EU neoliberalism that we forget that Russia was always just as self-serving to ruling elites. There are no good guys in this battle between the oligarchs.

      http://libcom.org/...

      The power struggle between oligarchic clans in Ukraine threatens to escalate into an international armed conflict. Russian capitalism intends to use redistribution of Ukrainian state power in order to implement their long-standing imperial and expansionist aspirations in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine where it has strong economic, financial and political interests.

      On the background of the next round of the impending economic crisis in Russia, the regime is trying to stoking Russian nationalism to divert attention from the growing workers' socio-economic problems: poverty wages and pensions, dismantling of available health care, education and other social services. In the thunder of the nationalist and militant rhetoric it is easier to complete the formation of a corporate, authoritarian state based on reactionary conservative values and repressive policies.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:16:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  facepalm (22+ / 0-)
    And that's why I can't bring myself to embrace what I believe is an infantile position by saying that Putin is crazy, and a bad person
    ask pussy riot if putin is a bad person. ask lgbt russians. ask reporters without borders. ask election monitors. ask monitors of wealth disparity. on almost every issue for which you criticize the usa, putin is significantly worse.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 05:10:07 AM PDT

    •  If you didn't like this diary, (12+ / 0-)

      wait til you see the one about Stalin.

    •  "Bad person" =/= "crazy." (0+ / 0-)

      Putin is a cunning operator navigating a society which, to some extent, admires a strongman leader. Russian society has deeply conservative elements and Putin accommodates them.
      How much he controls the political violence in Russia is open to question.
        As for wealth disparity: The looting of Russia through "privatization" (under Western tutelage) was a done deal before Putin came along.
        Whether he is a "bad person" is a moral judgment. Certainly there have been American Presidents with hands more bloody than his.

         

      •  i didn't say he's crazy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        voicemail

        and wealth disparity had expanded under him. and there is no question that russian officials are at the very least tolerating the violence.

        and yes, calling someone bad is a moral judgment. so what? and yes, there have been terrible u.s. presidents. so what?

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 08:14:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually conditions for the Russian people (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          6412093, TheMomCat

          improved considerably under Putin.

          Putin's first presidency

          Under the presidency of Vladimir Putin Russia's economy saw the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) double, climbing from 22nd to 11th largest in the world. The economy made real gains of an average 7% per year ( 1999: 6.5%, 2000: 10%, 2001: 5.7%, 2002: 4.9%, 2003: 7.3%, 2004: 7.2%, 2005: 6.4%, 2006: 8.2%, 2007: 8.5%, 2008: 5.2% ), making it the 6th largest economy in the world in GDP(PPP). In 2007, Russia's GDP exceeded that of 1990, meaning it has overcome the devastating consequences of the recession in the 1990s.[37]

          During Putin's eight years in office, the industry grew by 75%, investments increased by 125%,[37] and agricultural production and construction increased as well. Real incomes more than doubled and the average salary increased eightfold from $80 to $640.[38][39][40] The volume of consumer credit between 2000–2006 increased 45 times,[41][42] and during that same time period, the middle class grew from 8 million to 55 million, an increase of 7 times. The number of people living below the poverty line also decreased from 30% in 2000 to 14% in 2008.

          Compare that to the US during this same period.
          •  and they started much worse (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hey338Too, 6412093

            so the bar wasn't exactly high. and meanwhile, wealth disparity continued to explode.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 09:08:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And in 2009 (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              btfsilence

              Assad of Syria was the most popular Arab Leader in a CNN poll.

            •  Because they started so low, it makes Putin's (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TheMomCat, 6412093, Ray Pensador

              accomplishments even more remarkable.

              wealth disparity continued to explode
              The roots of this go back to the US support of Yeltsin and George Soros' "Shock Therapy". BVTW, wealth disparity within the US is also escalating. This is a global phenomena. All the gains made by the American middle class have seen considerable erosion in the last decade, while 2nd and third world countries have gained somewhat.
              Oligarchism

              A tiny clique who used their connections built up during the last days of the Soviet years to appropriate Russia's vast resources during the rampant privatizations of the Yeltsin years, the oligarchs emerged as the most hated men in the nation. The Western world generally advocated a quick dismantling of the Soviet planned economy to make way for "free-market reforms," but later expressed disappointment over the newfound power and corruption of the "oligarchs."

              Putin re-nationalized the oil companies and put the money into the Russian sovereign wealth fund some of which ensures a pension for every Russian citizen. You may want to compare this to the US Social Security pensions. Putin continues to nationalize oil companies which puts him in the oil multinational dominated West's black books.
              From Yeltsinism to Putinism

              Putin has confronted several very influential oligarchs (Vladimir Gusinsky, Boris Berezovsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in particular) who attained large stakes of state assets, allegedly through illegal schemes, during the privatization process. Gusinsky and Berezovsky have been forced to leave Russia and give up parts of their assets. Khodorkovsky was jailed in Russia and has lost his YUKOS company, formerly the largest oil producer in Russia. Putin's stand against oligarchs is generally popular with the Russian people, even though the jailing of Khodorkovsky is mainly seen as part of a takeover operation by government officials, according to another Levada-Center poll.[citation needed]

              These confrontations have also lead to Putin establishing control over Russian media outlets previously owned by the oligarchs. In 2001 and 2002, TV channels NTV (previously owned by Gusinsky), TV6 and TVS (owned by Berezovsky) were all taken over by media groups loyal to Putin. Similar takeovers have also occurred with print media.[33]

              Putin's popularity, which stems from his reputation as a strong leader, stands in contrast to the unpopularity of his predecessor, but it hinges on a continuation of economic recovery. Putin came into office at an ideal time: after the devaluation of the ruble in 1998, which boosted demand for domestic goods, and while world oil prices were rising. Indeed, during the seven years of his presidency, real GDP grew on average 6.7% a year, average income increased 11% annually in real terms, and a consistently positive balance of the federal budget enabled the government to cut 70% of the external debt (according to the Institute for Complex Strategic Studies). Thus, many credit him with the recovery, but his ability to withstand a sudden economic downturn has been untested. Putin won the Russian presidential election in 2004 without any significant competition.

              Some researchers assert that most Russians today have come to regret the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

              •  meh (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT, Lawrence
                The fall of Communism saw Russia's most prized assets sold off to a small circle of businessmen later known as oligarchs. President Vladimir Putin allowed them to keep their wealth in exchange for their political loyalty.

                Metals and banking tycoons Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Fridman, who made their fortunes in the 90s, are still high on the list of Russia's richest men. But the past decade saw a rise of new billionaires who draw their wealth from state contracts and some of whom are known to be the presidents' friends, like Gennady Timchenko.

                Credit Suisse said that there were hopes with the demise of the Soviet Union that Russia would turn into a high skilled economy with fair wealth distribution but "this is almost a parody of what happened in practice."

                http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

                all while deatroying democracy, the free press, and any potential improvements in human rights.

                but thanks for trying to sugar coat one ofnthe world's great thugs.

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 10:15:13 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your demonizing goes too far - rewriting history (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  protectspice, Ray Pensador, whizdom
                  The fall of Communism saw Russia's most prized assets sold off to a small circle of businessmen later known as oligarchs.
                  That was done by the US government's sweetheart, Yeltsin, working hand in hand with George Soros.
                  President Vladimir Putin allowed them to keep their wealth in exchange for their political loyalty.
                  Not for long. Many are now gone The deal was for them to stay out of politics. Most have been purged and are now sitting in London or other western nations.

                  The biggest purge was from the oil industry which was nationalized. Gazprom is now the second largest oil company in the world, behind Exxon. Gazprom's profits go into the Russian Sovereign funds - a large part of which is pensions. Where do Exxon's profits go?

                  Every leader in the world has to bed with corporate leaders - even Obama does it.

                  •  yeah (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Lawrence, Dr Swig Mcjigger

                    it's demonizing to call him for destroying democracy, institutionalizing bigotry, and destroying the free press.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 11:42:39 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Do you think the US has a true democracy or free (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      protectspice, Ray Pensador

                      press?

                      The US ranks 32nd in the world. It is outranked by Canada and Europe. During OWS, it fell from 20th to 42nd place with all the arrests of free speech activists.

                      institutionalizing bigotry
                      You need to look in the mirror. The US has States where bigotry is still institutionalized. Russia is now where the US was only a decade or two ago. Compared to Canada and Europe, the US is still in the dark ages.
                      List of U.S. state constitutional amendments banning same-sex unions by type

                      Thirty-one U.S. state constitutional amendments banning legal recognition of same-sex unions have been adopted. Of these, nine make only same-sex marriage unconstitutional; seventeen make both same-sex marriage and civil unions unconstitutional; two make same-sex marriage, civil unions, and other contracts unconstitutional; two have been found unconstitutional; and one is unique.

                      •  we were talking about russia (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Lawrence, Hey338Too

                        which you curiously neglected to rank. but it's a cozy 148th on press freedom. and flail as you might, no state in the u.s. has anything remotely akin to russia's homophobic laws. do keep trying.

                        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                        by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:17:13 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  It's all relative when you are using the good/evil (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Ray Pensador

                          dichotomy.

                          it's a cozy 148th on press freedom
                          It dropped for the very same reasons as the US's did.

                          The American press has continued to replace political programming with entertainment content so it's "freedom of the press" is becoming moot. Russia will become the same as capitalistic corporatization increasingly takes over.

                          russia's homophobic laws
                          The devil's in the details. Here's one. It's legal for gays to donate blood in Russia. It's illegal in the US.
                          List of countries with their stand on MSM blood donors

                          In the US, the current guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to indefinitely defer any male donor who has had sex with another man, in the period from 1977 to the present day.

                          •  oh gosh (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Lawrence

                            not being able to donate blood is like not being able to publicly discuss, much less publicly act on, same sex emotions. and yeah, the u.s. dropped to an egregious 102 points higher than russia.

                            keep flailing.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 02:06:34 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Look deeper (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ray Pensador
                            8 U.S. States Have Anti-Gay Laws Strikingly Similar to Those in Russia

                            Visitors to Sochi will be subject to the laws that forbid public demonstrations in favor of gay rights, disseminating materials in favor of gay rights, or so much as speaking in favor of gay rights. Since the laws' passage, violence against LGBT individuals in Russia has skyrocketed.

                            While the situation in Russia is dire, it's hardly the only place to have instituted a law banning "gay propaganda." In fact, as a map from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network illustrates, eight U.S. states — Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah — have laws banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools.
                            ...
                            The map makes it clear that when it comes to changing regressive laws designed to silence LGBT individuals and render them invisible, there's plenty of work to be done at home.

                            As a Washington Post article details, the U.S. anti-propaganda laws range from stifling speech to actively promoting fear and misinformation in schools. Arizona and Utah, for instance, ban teachers from casting homosexuality in a positive light, while states like Alabama and Texas take things a step further, requiring educators to describe homosexuality as abhorrent to the general public and as a criminal behavior. (It's not — or, at least, it hasn’t been for a decade now. The United States belatedly legalized sodomy in 2003, a full decade after Russia did so.

                            Let's be clear: the situation for LGBT individuals and allies in these eight states is nowhere near as perilous as that on the ground in Russia. For one thing, while the eight states' so-called "no promo homo" laws are preposterous, they're limited to restricting speech and instituting a chilling effect in schools. Even so, that doesn't excuse Americans from taking action against our own restrictive and intolerant policies, and setting an example for Russia and the world. Perhaps the Sochi Olympics can serve as a call to action not only against Russia's bigotry, but toward ensuring tolerance and freedom of speech both at home and around the world.

                          •  oh gosh (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Lawrence

                            we have eight redneck states. which restrict speech in schools, not, you know, everywhere.

                            Let's be clear: the situation for LGBT individuals and allies in these eight states is nowhere near as perilous as that on the ground in Russia. For one thing, while the eight states' so-called "no promo homo" laws are preposterous, they're limited to restricting speech and instituting a chilling effect in schools.
                            meanwhile, russia has an entire repressive country. keep flailing.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 03:35:06 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Not flailing. Just holding up a mirror. (0+ / 0-)

                            Russia's religious right is where the US was a decade and a half ago under Bush.

                            The anti-gay religious right still has it's tentacles deep in America's politics. The American initiated World Congress of Families exports it's shit all around the world.

                          •  let me make this simple for you (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Denise Oliver Velez
                            Let's be clear: the situation for LGBT individuals and allies in these eight states is nowhere near as perilous as that on the ground in Russia. For one thing, while the eight states' so-called "no promo homo" laws are preposterous, they're limited to restricting speech and instituting a chilling effect in schools.
                            mmkay?

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 04:55:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And for you (0+ / 0-)
                            Even so, that doesn't excuse Americans from taking action against our own restrictive and intolerant policies, and setting an example for Russia and the world.
                          •  obviously (0+ / 0-)

                            but we were talking about russia, and absurdly false equivalencies.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 05:28:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The good vs evil dichotomy always comes up in (0+ / 0-)

                            DKos when Russia or Putin is brought up.

                            false equivalencies
                            Nope
                          •  yes (0+ / 0-)

                            we're just like putin.

                            whooooosh.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 06:22:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No. But many western leaders are not unlike Putin (0+ / 0-)

                            Demonizing a leader does not reveal anything of value. Look at the number of people here that say Putin is crazy (which started this thread) or stupid or evil.

                            Listen to what the Tea baggers say about Obama.

    •  Exactly (4+ / 0-)

      Let me talk about whether or not he is crazy and then slip in that "I can't....believe...Putin is....bad."  Hello? He is bad.  Thank you LL.  

      I'm from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

      by voicemail on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 08:39:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  one thing I wondered (8+ / 0-)

    before this all went down, Putin was trying to create a Eurasian Union, a counterpart to the EU, with Ukraine as one of its cornerstones. He had offered a $15 billion dollar bailout package to Ukraine, a better offer than the EU made.

    In other words, he was adopting the same methods that the EU has used to bring new countries under their influence: economics. When he was on the verge of succeeding, suddenly there was an uprising that kicked out the Ukrainian government which had been showing interest in Putin's offer.

    The IMF, as we know, is a predatory lender. In exchange for loaning money, it imposes austerity and free-market friendly policies, including privatization of public assets. But there's no choice for nations requiring funds; the IMF has a monopoly.

    Putin presented an unwelcome threat to their monopoly: a credible alternative lender. Suddenly there's competition, and then other countries can start playing one lender off another, and getting better terms for themselves. Putin was going to cut the IMF out of this deal with Ukraine (even though Russia is an IMF member) and deal directly government to government. And the IMF didn't like it.

    And though the likes of Hillary Clinton scoffed at the Eurasian Union, I have to wonder if the EU's leaders aren't taking the threat of a Eurasian Union a bit more seriously. It represents unwelcome competition.

    Some people really think that the former Eastern Bloc states adored Western capitalism so much that they signed on with the EU out of sheer love for us, and because they wanted to be just like us. Which is nonsense. Those countries needed powerful patrons to guarantee their security and boost their economies, and EU and NATO were the only game in town. And in some cases leaders wanted to remain unaligned, in which case they were often magically overthrown and replaced by leaders touting the virtues of Western-style democracy and free markets. (Just like what just happened in Ukraine).

    If Putin had succeeded in integrating Ukraine into his Customs Union, that would have gone a long way towards demonstrating the viability of an alternative to the EU. Other states would have realized they had other choices besides pledging themselves to Brussels. And then the EU would have had to compete for the loyalty of those states. Perhaps some day, even some EU states would have started wanting to leave and join the Eurasian Union. This threat had to be nipped in the bud.

    Could it be that because of nationalistic sentiment and the importance of Ukraine for Russian national security, Putin was willing to pay a higher price for their allegiance than the EU was?

    And that was really intolerable to them. The idea that the EU might have to pony up more money, that the IMF would have to loosen its austerity demands in order to get Ukraine. If the IMF granted more favorable terms to Ukraine, then there would be outrage from EU states groaning under the burden of IMF austerity and demands for equal treatment, and that can't be permitted.

    Margaret Thatcher used to say "There is no alternative." The corollary of that is that if a credible alternative appears, you have to eliminate it. So, since they weren't willing to match Putin's offer, and they weren't willing to give up Ukraine, they had only one option left: foment rebellion and install a government more sympathetic to Western demands.

    That, I think, explains a large chunk of the geopolitical motivations behind what happened in Ukraine.

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

    by limpidglass on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 05:13:20 AM PDT

    •  the expression you use "Western demands" may (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      limpidglass, cybrestrike

      not be apposite.

      As it turns out, the new Ukrainian PM is not the guy the EU wanted, but the guy Vicky "Fek the EU" wanted.

      I dare say that those who call the shots in the EU (when it comes to money it's solely Germany) are miffed by this, hence the less than enthusiastic response to the US calls for sanctions against Russia, Germany is even opposed to expelling Russia from the G8...

      We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

      by Lepanto on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 05:25:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  indeed, the interests of the US and EU (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cybrestrike, catullus, Ray Pensador

        appear to be diverging. Although they were temporarily united against Yanukovych.

        Obama needs to maintain US credibility by making threats over the Russian troop movements into Crimea, while the EU (which engages in hundreds of billions of dollars worth of trade with Russia) wants to be more conciliatory and cut some kind of deal.

        Also, there appears to be some disagreements between the US and EU over the future role of NATO. I would like to know what they are.

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

        by limpidglass on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 05:45:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wonder (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          limpidglass, Ray Pensador

          just speculation, if the Nuland "F" bomb referred to differences with the EU on the aftermath and russian response and EU counter response of a possible total removal from office of the feckless Yanku, vs. a more intermediate step that wouldn't have been as likely to result Russian movement of big iron into Crimea.

          Our Intelligence agencies were split on the assessment of the Russian response in response to the impeachment of the government in place.  Intentions are always hard to assess, but russian troops were moving to Crimea long before the impeachment actually went down.

          Was the Russian movement of troops into the Crimea a surprise?  Did we have a plan worked out for response if they did?

      •  Germany's economy is based on trade and Russia (4+ / 0-)

        is a major trading partner. Russia is also THE major supplier of energy to the EU. It is generally not in the interests of the EU to get into a pissing match with Russia.
           If you look at the US,though, you see the fossil fuel owned government licking its chops at the prospect of exporting US produced natural gas to Ukraine to replace the Russian supply.
           This isn't really feasible, but what is actually in play is lifting export restrictions on nat gas in the US, thus creating scarcity here ==> price increases. All the talk from the House Pubs was that the $1 billion in loan guarantees should be used to buy American nat gas.
          Not to mention fracking rights in Ukraine.
          Frankly, the Ukraine revolution, whether or not it was a foreign sponsored destabilization coup, is showing us what the shock doctrine looks like.

        •  dallas, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          catullus

          the export restrictions on US natural gas are toothless.  The DOE and FERC have approved every single application that's come up.

          Where would gas be delivered to the Ukraine?  Would we send the 6th Fleet into Black Sea to accompany LNG tankers?

          Do any gas pipelines run west to east in Europe?

          “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

          by 6412093 on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 10:21:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "Fossil fuel-owned government." Top quote. n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  OECD (0+ / 0-)

      Russia has been seeking admission to the OECD for years.  Ukraine was admitted in 2008.  Putin views this as a slight.  

    •  That's way too Marxist (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erratic

      an analysis.

      Putin is much more of a subscriber to a kind of Clash Of Civilizations notion of history.  Where ethnicity, religion, race matter.  Where Russia is a messianic power.

      The choice for Ukraine isn't at heart some matter of whether the net equivalent of billions of Euros go to/from western Europe or to/from Russia.  It's really a question of whether it wants to make the transition from an Agrarian/Industrial Age economy and society to the Post-Industrial kind, which is what incremental merger with the EU represents.  Or whether to try to stay in holding pattern with an essentially A/I economy and society, which is what sticking with Russia- de facto a petrostate- represents.

      It's a really painful transition.  But where Ukraine is is that after 20 years of autonomy it has essentially confronted, argued out, and shed all the parts of the large scale detritus of the Soviet era and its condition.   Now it's not really about the Euros, it's about what it decides it positively wants.  

      The 'Eurasian Union' is largely a scheme designed to lock countries out of the EU- a confederation, formed out of opposition to a common opponent- rather than a competing federation (whose real long term aim is integration of its members).  The structure of the 'Eurasian Union' is such that Russia so greatly outweighs the other members that it would de facto order the others around- as some say, an obvious revival of much of the USSR or much of the empire of the Czars.

      Whether Russia's leadership actually believes anything it claims about NATO is to be doubted. The opening of the Warsaw Pact archives showed that the Pact, run by the USSR's military, never developed a plan of military defense of eastern Europe despite claiming throughout the Cold War that NATO was a conspiracy to invade and conquer that region.  The truth was that when the USSR's military assessed NATO's assets and postures and what it knew of NATO's internal politics and military planning (it had several spies over the years in NATO HQ in Belgium, from which it found out almost everything), they could not with any seriousness conclude that NATO had actual offensive plans or designs.  (Retaliatory or destructive of logistical support for a Warsaw Pact invasion, yes.)

      As it is the only land boundary between NATO and Russia is along the Baltic countries; the non-defendable Kaliningrad Enclave doesn't matter.  NATO military presence in the Baltic countries is purely tripwire and last ditch defenses, the holding of small coastal enclaves.  Realistic threat of a NATO invasion of Russia is zero.

      The bottom line is that when a country joins NATO, Russia never gets hegemony over it again.  That's the serious reality-based reason for the anti-NATO tantrums by the Kremlin.  

    •  Top comment so far, among many good ones. n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Russia's annexation of Crimea is a done deal. (5+ / 0-)

    Crimea has never been a part of Ukraine except since 1954, so they simply don't have the sort of ties to Ukraine that the rest of the country does. Since it will peel off many pro-Russian voters, this will solidify the current pro-western government in power in the next elections. And it will drive Ukraine into the arms of NATO, but Putin won't have to worry about them kicking him out of their base in Crimea.

    "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

    by Eternal Hope on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 06:21:14 AM PDT

  •  USAID Plan for Ukraine 2012-2016 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice, Ray Pensador, Lepanto

    http://www.usaid.gov/...

    Interesting insight into our development objectives and spending plans for Ukraine.

  •  When you can't tell the good guys... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, cybrestrike

    from the bad guys, don't rush to help.

    I agree with your conclusions---this is way too murky to call right now. This is one of those times when I don't like anyone involved.

    if what ends up happening is that Russia annexes Crimea (which again, I think it's pretty much a done deal) and continues to exert influence in Ukraine (for the foreseeable future), and the U.S. and the West end up backing down (which I think is what's going to happen), would not that be a huge black eye for the West?
    Yes
    If the State Department was advising president Obama about how smooth things would go after Yanukovych fled to Russia, they utterly failed him.
    Agreed again. Too bad he's too nice a guy to fire anyone

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 06:33:42 AM PDT

  •  Nice job (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 06:40:34 AM PDT

  •  The common thread in all your Ukraine diaries (17+ / 0-)

    is the complete lack of empathy or interest in the plight, desires and aspirations of the Ukrainian people themselves, their agency, their right to self-determination, not to be ruled by a corrupt autocrat who empowered himself by rewriting the constitution, or enriching himself by bankrupting the nation.

    KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

    by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 07:16:58 AM PDT

    •  We said the same thing about Syria (4+ / 0-)

      about 2010, when peaceful, and legitimate non violent protests were supplemented by outside actors with an anti regime agenda, and extremist ideologic elements making common cause with the students and intellectuals and formal, elected government opposition.

      Sound familiar?

      How many millions of Ukranian refugees will it take before we can say their plights and aspirations have been taken into consideration by our actions  in these perilous times?  

      •  Its not at all familiar (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence, Yasuragi, btfsilence, Hey338Too

        What is happening in Syria is a civil war. What is happening in Ukraine is a Russian invasion, takeover, and clear violation of the Ukraine's sovereignty.

        KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

        by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 09:45:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not sure we haven't seen this movie once (8+ / 0-)

          Civil society NGOs build networks and institutions in a client state of an entity perceived to be an existential threat to the US and/or our allies.  Check.

          Washington think tanks start cranking out their usual product.  AEI, FDD, NED, WINEP, Heritage

          Non violent anti government protests begin,  led by students, intellectuals, and members of domestic opposition party.  Check

          Protests turn violent, perhaps in response to government violence.   Check

          Influx of foreign fighters and influencers. Check

          Government escalates the crack down.  Check

          More foreign fighters flow in. Check

          patron of client state intervenes.  Check

          Patrons of extremist fundamental factions flow in.  Check

           Ethnic  and religious factions compete with intellectuals and domestic opposition.

          students and intellectuals are marginalized from the opposition.

          A sort of vicious stalemate ensues. TBD, but looking that way

          Civil war, atrocities, and refugee flows?   Not all that implausible.

        •  A coup overthrowing the elected leader (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador

          who was pro-Russian was a Russian takeover? On which planet?

          This coup?

          Well, it was one thing that finally made the Canadian Oil Sands stock finally go up. The One Percent loves it. Follow the oil . . . and the money.

          And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

          by Pale Jenova on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 10:41:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It wasn't a coup (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Yasuragi, Lawrence, Hey338Too, kalmoth

            The President was impeached unanimously by a democratically elected parliament, including members of his own party. "Coup" is the preferred narrative by the RT and Moscow's propaganda outlets.

            KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

            by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 11:24:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Putin does call it a coup . . . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              whizdom

              But so do others. The right wing (i.e., Alex Jones) actually agrees--no, I won't link to him--but do many on the left.

              Definitional arguments have no resolution.

              I am no fan of Putin. But neither am I a fan of the right-wing nationalists in Ukraine.

              And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

              by Pale Jenova on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 11:35:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm a fan of the Ukrainian people (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lawrence, Hey338Too

                and their right to their own country, unmolested by Russia, which isn't the case right now.

                KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

                by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:36:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Your first link is to Counterpunch, a site known (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                fcvaguy, Hey338Too

                for rabid anti-semitism and for publishing Neo-Nazis.

                Seeing that Putin's Russia is a state that is going into full-blown national chauvinism mode, do you really think you should be forming your opinion on Ukraine based on "news" sites with strong anti-semitic, pro-Russian chauvinism, and fascist ties?

                I also saw that you published a link to Russia Today.  You do realize that Russia Today is fully funded by the Kremlin and that one news anchor just quit because she couldn't handle all the propaganda anymore, right?

                Have you attempted to hear Ukrainian voices on all of this, at all?

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

                by Lawrence on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 01:07:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  When did Counterpunch start publishing (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  fcvaguy, Lawrence, Pale Jenova

                  Neo-Nazis?

                  I'll admit that I started to go off Cockburn when he began equating the RW Militia Movement in the US to the Zapatistas in Mexico but I wasn't aware that Counterpunch had drunk the brown Kool-Aid.

                  Nothing human is alien to me.

                  by WB Reeves on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 02:17:41 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  two news anchors quit (0+ / 0-)

                  KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

                  by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 02:58:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Renee Parsons is a rabid anti-semite? (0+ / 0-)

                  That's a new one. (She wrote the article in Counterpunch.)

                  Strange you should bring up anti-semitism when the current Ukraine government is conducting attacks on synagoges in Crimea. After all, back in the day, the Ukraine nationalists sided with Germany in WW2, even forming their own divison of the Waffen SS.

                  Best to pick one's "friends" carefully.

                  And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

                  by Pale Jenova on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 06:53:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  not unanimously... (0+ / 0-)

              but by a majority.

          •  The site you linked to is a full-blown CT and (4+ / 0-)

            Kremlin propaganda site with strong links to Eurasian fascism and Russian national chauvinism.  Reading that is as bad as reading stuff on Newsmax or Infowars.

            Are you sure you, as a leftist, want to be trusting these kinds of people to help form your opinions?

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

            by Lawrence on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:28:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was going to say the same (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lawrence, kalmoth

              but thought to let him cling to his preferred narrative.

              KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

              by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:36:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think we need to be pointing this kind of thing (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                fcvaguy, killjoy

                out every time it pops up.

                It is absurd that a considerable number of Kossacks are buying into Pro-Russian national chauvinist propaganda and CT.

                Some will probably continue to run to those sources for continued brainwashing but it may help some others realize that they are being fooled just as bad as hardcore Faux News viewers.

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

                by Lawrence on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:48:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You're fighting a losing battle (0+ / 0-)

                  anything that feeds confirmation bias will get lapped up, despite how obviously foolish and fraudulent that which is being lapped up seems.

                  KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

                  by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:50:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Global Research (4+ / 0-)
              A 2005 article in The Jewish Tribune criticized GlobalResearch.ca as "rife with anti-Jewish conspiracy theory and Holocaust denial." B'nai Brith Canada had complained that there were comments on a forum that questioned how many Jews died in the Holocaust. Website editor Michel Chossudovsky responded that there was a disclaimer that the website was not to be held responsible for the views expressed in the forum, and he had the comment removed. He also said that he was of Jewish heritage and would be one of the last people to condone antisemitic views.
              CRG was described in 2011 as having "an intimate and wildly successful relationship" with the RT network (previously known as "Russia Today"). Contributors to CRG include Thierry Meyssan.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              So, by the owner's own statement, Global Research is an aggregator site. They don't embrace the views of anyone who publishes there. In this case, the author of the article Pale Jenova points to is Chris Macavel.

              Who is Chris Macavel?

              Chris Macavel is an independent political analyst based in Harlem, NY. He writes for the blog “The Nation-State” at thenationalstate.wordpress.com. He seeks to enlighten about the growing dangers of NATO imperialist ambitions and Wall Street domination in American political life. He is the author of the forthcoming book “Imperialism in the “Arab Spring: How Western Imperialists Guided the MENA Uprisings”.
              His blog:

              http://thenationalstate.wordpress.com

              The problem with his blog is that it has only post, the one one Pale Jenova linked to, and it was created at the end of February, right when the revolution occurred in Ukraine.

              Macavel has no other footprint of consequence on the Web.

              KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

              by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:49:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  and then note (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lawrence, kalmoth

              that in the next post, Pale Jenova trots out two more links, one to Counterpunch, a site described as follows:

              The Anti-Defamation League in 2007 described CounterPunch as an "anti-Zionist radical left newsletter".[78] The pro-Israel media watchdog group Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) in 2007 described CounterPunch.org as an "extremist anti-Israel web site".[79]
              And the Counterpunch article written by Renee Parsons. In her article she claims what happened in Ukraine was a coup. The source for claim? Vladimir Putin himself:
              An hour after refusing to resign, the Ukrainian Parliament voted, according to Russian president Vladimir Putin, in an unconstitutional action to oust President Yanukovych and that pro-EU forces staged a ‘coup’.
              And who is Rene Parsons?
              Renee Parsons was a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives and a lobbyist for Friends of the Earth in Washington, D.C. focusing on nuclear energy issues.

              In 2005, she was elected to the Durango City Council (Colorado)and served four years as Councilor and Mayor. Currently, Renee serves on the Board of the Treasure Coast ACLU.

              Ya, a real expert on Ukraine !!

              The whole thing would be laughable if it weren't so sad.

              KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

              by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 01:04:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Eternal Hope once used CounterPunch as a (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                fcvaguy, Hey338Too, kalmoth

                basis for a diary, caught hell for it, did research, and then published a classy diary of apology:

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                So, for those who have a good heart and a desire to learn the truth, pointing out these things can make a difference.

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

                by Lawrence on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 01:11:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Not to get too literal (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ray Pensador

                But the process used to impeach the ousted Yanuk did not follow Ukranian constitutional procedure, i.e., trial, testimony, and judicial review.  That was point made by Putin, certainly, and others.  A parliamentary yes or no vote doesn't meet that test.  It was summary judgement by a single branch of government, at best.  In a hastily called session with gunmen outside with a particular point of view.

                Quite aside from the point if it was useful or necessary, or enforceable, but it emphatically can't be said to be legal or constitutional as an impeachment by Ukranian constitutional standards

                •  The Ukraine Constitution is online in English (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Lawrence, serendipityisabitch

                  The provisions for impeachment or removal (two different things) are laid out there. While Putin has a technical point, when you consider the fact that the vote was 328-0, unanimous, with members of Yanukovich's own party voting against him, and the fact that the Constitution doesn't account for the circumstance where the President flees the country, actually records a resignation, and then rescinds it, my take is that the Parliament tried to follow the Constitution in good faith.

                  Then, there is the matter of the Crimean parliament, where the chamber was taken over by armed forces, the members forced to convene, all their cellphones were confiscated, no media allowed in, and no official votes recorded, voted to oust the existing prime minister and elect a prime minister with ties to the Russian mafia and who's Russian unity party held only 3 seats in the 100 member parliament.

                  I'd say its difficult for you to take exception with what happened in Ukraine while turning a deaf ear to what happened in Crimea.

                  KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

                  by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 02:57:25 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I would agree (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ray Pensador

                    Yanuk had to go.   He had ordered out the border police and the military to crack down on maidan and a massacre was looming.

                    But it isn't helpful to say a deliberate falsehood that is plainly so, it weakens the whole argument.  

                    •  You may have missed my point (0+ / 0-)

                      Those who point at the Ukrainian situation while ignoring what happened in the Crimean parliament, certainly have weak arguments.

                      KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

                      by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 03:17:39 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I am not sure I follow (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Ray Pensador

                        You seem to agree that the Ukranian transition of leadership was not a constitutional impeachment.  isn't that what we are talking about? We can agree it was necessary, but unconstitutional.  Not constitutional as you often assert.

                        ironically, we wrote that constitution for them, so they could enjoy the protections of democracy and justice.  

                        So, likely unconstitutional will be the Crimean referendum, which hasn't happened yet.   I don't think anyone can ignore it, I am not.  

                        But one event happened, the other has not.  I hope it doesn't.  

                        •  what we started talking about (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Hey338Too, kalmoth, Lawrence

                          was your comparison to Syria. Russia didn't invade Syria, neither did the US or any other country. So your parallel was rather fallacious. Then, you chose to go off on a tangent claiming, like Putin, that the Ukrainian actions were unconstitutional. My argument was that given the circumstances, which their constitution could never account for, the combination of the 328-0 unanimous vote, the fact that they have a recorded resignation and then a rescission, and the President fled the country, the Parliament did the best it could. So much so, even Canada, the most highly respected country on the international stage, was one of the first countries to recognize the new government.

                          Then, I brought up a very close parallel to the farce and fraud that occurred in the Crimean parliament, and noted that  you choose to ignore that, for obvious reasons I might add.

                          So, likely unconstitutional will be the Crimean referendum, which hasn't happened yet.   I don't think anyone can ignore it, I am not.  
                          What Crimea has already done is unconstitutional, forcing members to convene at the tip of a gun, and vote the prime minister out, and vote in a convenient pro-Russian individual who couldn't even muster single digits in an open election, confiscating their cell phones, barring media entry, and refusing to openly record a vote. .

                          you have a good evening wisdom. My interests lie with the Ukrainian people, their right to their own country, without invasion by bullies, their right to sovereignty and their own government. I realize others have other interests.

                          KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

                          by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 04:56:11 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  We just don't want it (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ray Pensador

                            To escalate.  If it is to be resolved without escalation, a resolution acceptable and binding under international law and norms, and enforceable under them.  

                            The alternative is worse.   These fragile documents and international institutions are what is between us and chaos, the predation of the weak nations and peoples by the strong, and ruthless.  

                            Both sides must enter into honest negotiations with honest brokers, with the ability to commit it externally adjudicated agreements.  Or the alternative is worse.  

                            That means Putin has to be seen to get something. For the home audience.   That will drive FoxNooz nuts.  But calling him a crazy man does little to descalate.   It is a prod for him to escalate further.
                            Time to defuse this thing, not inflame it.

      •  Yeah, I've heard that one before... In my Syria (0+ / 0-)

        diaries.

    •  Do you think the previous leaders were any less (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, protectspice

      corrupt? Yushchenko unilaterally dissolved the parliament when members abandoned him. When this action was put to the Constitutional court, he dismissed the judges.

      In the next election the people threw him out and elected Yanukovych in a second ballot against another corrupt leader, Tymoshenko.

      enriching himself by bankrupting the nation
      Ukrainian leaders enriching the oligarchs and bankrupting the nation preceded Yanukovych. It goes back to the Kravchuk  Kuchma presidencies when the communist state was dismantled.

      The oligarchs are still in control. They just jump from one rat infested ship to another as it suits them.

      desires and aspirations of the Ukrainian people
      It's a mixed bag.

      Geo-political Orientation

  •  Why do your diaries only go one way, Ray? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, btfsilence, kalmoth

    If all you're doing is issuing a call for people to recognize nuance, why do you only ever write diaries denouncing one side, and not the other, for their simplistic, black-and-white take?

    The answer, as anyone who has ever read you knows, is that you aren't merely calling for a recognition of nuance, and it's blindingly obvious.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 08:47:41 AM PDT

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