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I just finished reading a diary about the insanity in Ukraine and posted a comment, the comment was more than just an I agree/disagree so I though I would post it as a diary.  It has been a while since I have Posted anything but here goes.

A number of weeks ago, a large mass of people decided they did not like the guy running their country so some of them gave their lives to get him removed from office.  Was that legal? Was the removal of the pro Russian Pres by the legislature with in the bounds of their own constitution?  Does the legality of it even matter?

According to the guy they threw out, it matters a lot and to his sponsor, Vlad "the Bully" Putin, it seems to matter even more.  He decided to park 40,000 Troops on Ukraine's border and start taking territory from them.  Well so far the Bully has done pretty well, he got Crimea back with out a shot, but now we are into the meat and potatoes of the eastern part of Ukraine.

The provisional Ukrainian Government is nearly helpless, the people who got the old guy thrown out do not know what to do about the eastern part of the country, they don't have guns and the guys in the east seem to have some pretty good guns.  We all pretty much know they are not even Ukrainians, they are Russian soldiers sent in to take over just like in Crimea.  But the Bully sits in Moscow and blatantly lies about it, who is going to do anything about it anyway?  The Germans?  How bout the French?  No, I know, the Italians, they are going to put it all on the line and go to the aid of the Ukrainians against Russia.  

Oh, but wait, all of those folks get a large amount of their natural gas and oil from Russia.  The Germans just shut down all their Nuclear Power plants and went to, wait for it, natural gas for electricity production.  Ya, the Germans are going to get real tough with Russia over Ukraine sovereignty.  As for the rest of the EU, what are they going to do, wreck their own economies to save some restless ne'er do wells over in the east that have never really belonged in Europe anyway?  Well, so far, the EU has done pretty much this, Nothing.

Putin is a bully, he always has been and always will be.  He is nothing more than a KGB thug who was able to wrangle his way into power.  Is Putin a hero or a villain?  Based on everything I have seen or read I consider him a villain.  But I do not know him personally, he might be just as nice a guy as George Bush.  The Russian people on the other hand, a good many of them anyway, seem to think he is a Hero, a Savior, a Great Man saving the Motherland for the future of Mother Russia.  All of that said how can you make a deal with a bully?  I will give you my lunch money today if you promise you won't take my lunch money tomorrow?  I think we can all agree, the bully is going to take your lunch money tomorrow as well.

Pres Obama, does not want to entangle the USA in another military confrontation, does not even want to give lethal aid, meaning guns and such, to Ukraine.  I respect and even agree with the position he has taken.  Why is it the job of the USA to intervene when our staunchest allies in Europe don't seem to be willing to do the most basic of things such as cut off Russia's money supply.  What are we as a nation supposed to do for Ukraine?  

The question, however comes back to, who is going to stand up to the bully and make him quit taking other peoples lunch money?

The way out of this is to just tell Ukraine its time for you to rejoin Russia.  Oh and by the way, Belarus, just rejoin now as well cause you are next.  Moldova, Kazakhstan, Georgia, etc, they all may as well just rejoin the Motherland and save us all a lot of problems.  I suppose we may be able to hold the line on Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland.  But as for all the rest, what is going to prevent the Bully from just taking what he wants which appears to be a new Imperial Russia, the glory of the good ol' days, etc, etc, etc.

The problem is, the majority of the people of most of these countries do not want to be ruled from Moscow.  Especially by a KGB thug who has set himself up as the new Emperor of Mother Russia.  They have already been there, done that and lost the T-shirt in the last set of conflicts they went through to find their way to where they are today.  Most of them are relatively peaceful decent hardworking nations.  

So how on earth do we get Russia and the Bully to stop acting out?  If we cut them off monetarily we will be pretty much alone in doing so, Europe has no stomach for the economic costs of cutting Russia off.  If the Leaders of Europe put their countries back into recession to save Ukraine, they will not be the Leaders of Europe after the next set of elections.  So we come back to just give in to Russia and the Bully and hope he doesn't live much longer to cause more trouble, or we have to intervene.  We my friends are literally between the proverbial rock and hard place.  We either send 250,000 troops to Ukraine right now and stop the aggression,  or Russia will reabsorb all the countries that broke away after the collapse of the ill fated Soviet Union.

To end this, I am at heart an Isolationist, I think we should pretty much withdraw from nearly all our international endeavors with one or two exceptions, Japan being the main exception and South Korea being another.  I think we spend way to much time and money protecting things we don't need to protect.  Let the Corporations deal with their own security, they seem to have most of the money now a days, they can afford it better than we can.  I think we have caused as much harm as we have done good over the last 50 years.  So when commenting please bear in mind this is a thought diary, I do not think sending 250,000 boots to Ukraine is all that great an idea, but the other alternatives really are not that great either.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy" James Madison 4th US President

    by padeius on Sat May 03, 2014 at 03:52:56 AM PDT

  •  The USA handed out get of of jail free cards (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    padeius, Lepanto, Sandino

    when they thought they would never have to back them up.    Obama will never fight to defend Ukraine so there it is.  The Ukrainians must have guessed Russia would not get involved, they guessed wrongly.  

    People can claim x and y, but this will play out over months and even years, so far, Putin is winning.  

    •  Can we please drop the absurd personalisation of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tony Situ

      Presidential authority - President Obama will no more fight the Russians personally than John Boehner or Harry Reid. Because what you're requesting - an act of war against a very major country - that's not Obama's call - that requires a Congressional vote. Which Republican or Democratic leader is tabling a motion to send troops to Ukraine - and I don't count John (reverse-ace) McCain.

      •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

        based on the war powers act, President Obama could put the 2 MEF on the ground in less than a week and not have to even ask congress.  After 90 days of operations he would have to get permission/funding to continue the operations.  

        By the way the 2 MEF is about 60,000 marines.  Fully self sufficient for forward operations for up to 60 days with out resupply.

        "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy" James Madison 4th US President

        by padeius on Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:36:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  yes I get it, a recent meme is that Obama can (0+ / 0-)

        never be called out because x y or z would do the same.  Well, x, y, and Z are not the President.  You go for President, then you have to make the calls.  You don't
        "count" Mccain, well thanks for clearing that up, I will try to ad that as an amendment to the Constitution.  

        •  No need to amend the Constitution - McCain will (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          probably end his days as a permanent guest of the Sunday morning talk shows. He's just an Arizona senator with zero strategic understanding - his military experience consisted of getting shot down and being a prisoner of war for the duration. I won't comment on his bravery or cowardice while a POW - doesn't matter either way - it's no qualification to assess the risks and objectives of military intervention. By and large Republicans are a complete disaster on that front - the strongest arguments the Russians have for unilateral intervention in Ukraine were provided by McCain and his Republican colleagues.
          As for never calling out Obama - that's hardly what I said - there's lots I would call him out for including the disastrous handling of the NSA, failure to prosecute torture, drone strikes etc. But the stakes in this conflict could not be higher - and you only have to look at the parallel universe Russians are being fed to understand how easy it would be to miscalculate here - its like the whole Russian nation is watching their version of Fox News, and we know how much trouble it is here when only 40% get their world view from Rupert Murdoch.

          •  agreed (0+ / 0-)

            it is dangerous and fraught with peril.  But Obama applied for the job and he was accepted, twice. McCain deserves respect for his war record, shot down does not matter, he served, and served well.  He is wrong on most issues, and it is good he never became president.

            My only argument was with the idea that Obama is not in power and in RESPONSIBILITY at least for some decision.  Some are trying to give him an out no matter what happens, ok, if that is so, then he should just say "we are out of this".  It  is not right to claim the most powerful man in the world has no power simply because we don't want him tarnished if the situation goes against us.  Forget party politics, we HAVE to demand that our leaders lead, jmo.  

            •  I understand your point - and right now it's hard (0+ / 0-)

              to tell from the outside whether anyone on "our side", Obama, Kerry, Cameron, Catherine Ashton etc is actually "leading" (through furious behind the scenes activity) or simply doing a good impression of "deer caught in the headlights".

              We have to remember that if there's any outcome that avoids 40,000 Russian troops crossing the Ukraine border - it will have to be a face-saving out for Putin, and that will mean not backing them into a corner with their own populace. Part of the reason we have to deal with a Putin is our (American) enthusiasm for humiliating the Russians over "losing" the Cold War, which has given most Russians a desire for a leader that would stand up to the West.

              The sad part is there's no reason whatsoever for Western Europe and Russia to have an antagonistic relationship - but we do, and a big part of the reason is wounded Russian pride. I see the Guardian right now reporting talk from Lavrov about using the OSCE to de-escalate - which is encouraging. Putin and Lavrov may be speaking honestly when they say they've lost control of the separatists (nice of them to admit they had control of course).

        •  I don't favor war with Russia over Ukraine, (0+ / 0-)

          so I'm glad Obama's president and mot upu or McCain.

    •  Putin isn't winning, he's cutting his losses. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mindful Nature, Tony Situ

      Two months ago, all of Ukraine was firmly in the Russian orbit, an obedient little client state.

      Now, the country has moved out of the Russian orbit, turning towards the west. He's managed to grab back 2% of the country (Crimea), and maybe he'll grab back a few more percentage points. At the end of the day, though, he's going to end up with a lot less than he had at the beginning.

      Well-executed retreats that keep your army together and keep your losses down are important, but they don't count as winning.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sat May 03, 2014 at 08:17:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not even all WW1 files have been released as yet (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, padeius, InAntalya, Jim P

    So it might take some time to answer your question with accuracy.

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

    by Lepanto on Sat May 03, 2014 at 04:28:23 AM PDT

  •  Several points: (5+ / 0-)

    First of all, while there's no question Russia is stoking the fires of unrest in Eastern Ukraine, claiming all the rebels are Russian soldiers is one-sided in the extreme.

    First of all, Simon Ostrovsky, the Vice News journalist who was detained (and beaten) by the rebels claimed most of them were locals, while he was unsure about the leaders; other journalists interviewed rebels who were Ukrainian nationals, too.

    More to the point, you can't run an insurgency like that without a significant degree of local support - like, you know, the locals blocking Ukrainian APCs on their way to Sloviansk.

    As for our (European) reluctance to take a hard line on Russia, you're largely right, but there are two points that have to be made: There are deep divisions within Europe on the matter. The Baltics, for example, favour a hard-line stance, while Italy, Germany, and to an extent France are far less sanguine about it.

    Just as importantly, Putin's pet ideologue, Alexander Dugin (google, if thou darest) has been busy forging alliances with the European hard-right* (who admire Putin for his strength, his anti-Western stance, and the "protection" of "traditional values." Since the hard-right is expected to do well in European elections, mostly due to the mainstream politicians being a self-satisfied and incompetent lot, another wrench will probably be thrown into the European response.

    *Pretty much with everyone who is anyone on that scene: Front national, Jobbik, the Italian Neo-Nazi groups, Golden Dawn, etc.

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Sat May 03, 2014 at 05:00:23 AM PDT

    •  Point taken and accepted about who they are (0+ / 0-)

      I was being pretty general in calling them all Russian soldiers.  So there are a bunch of locals that the Russians are arming and helping out to cause as many problems as possible.

      Do you believe the locals would be perpetrating this revolt against the central government with out Russian involvement?

      "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy" James Madison 4th US President

      by padeius on Sat May 03, 2014 at 05:10:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My response to your question is: (6+ / 0-)

        Do you believe locals 'perpetrated' Euromaidan against the then central government without outside involvement?

        If you believe this to be the case, is it too difficult for you to believe that some/many/most of the locals are 'perpetrating this revolt against the current central government with out Russian involvement'?

        Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

        by InAntalya on Sat May 03, 2014 at 05:18:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  very good counter question (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          InAntalya, native, ER Doc, DeeDee001

          Right up to the point where the eastern folks seem to have SAMs to shoot down helicopters.  The folks in Kiev did not even seem to have guns.  

          I do not presume to know the mind set of the Ukrainian people in all honesty, all I can do is try to make logical thought progressions based on what little factual information we get here in the states.

          Thanks for pointing out other possibilities.

          "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy" James Madison 4th US President

          by padeius on Sat May 03, 2014 at 05:25:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  A terribly false equivalency. (6+ / 0-)

          Euromaidan, in Kiev, started out as a peaceful student protest and remained pretty much peaceful until the corrupted state cracked down with utter brutality.  They had virtually no weapons.

          In the two eastern oblasts, on the other hand, from the very beginning heavily-armed men in matching combat fatigues, with Ak-100 assault rifles, the newest russian rpg's, and Fagot anti-tank missiles have been storming police stations and other govt. buildings, abducting locals, journalists, and international observers, and torturing and murdering people.

          Even in Donetsk and Luhansk most of the locals don't favor joining Russia, so you have a situation where the majority of the population is being terrorized by a violent minority that includes people who are not locals.

          It is clear that it wouldn't be this violent if Russia hadn't been involved.

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

          by Lawrence on Sat May 03, 2014 at 06:28:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The false equivalency is yours. (8+ / 0-)

            You discuss levels of violence.

            We discussed whether or not it was possible that numbers of locals participated in Euromaidan without being 'agents' of outside powers and that other numbers of locals participate in current events without being 'agents' of outside powers.

            Or is it that you believe that all Euromaidan participants are peaceful free-thinkers while all pro-Russians are only extremely violent dolts who can only operate under Russian control?

            Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

            by InAntalya on Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:03:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Pro-Russians do appear to be dolts (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              The insurgents' leader in Slovyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying he ordered the release because of increasing insecurity in the city. But he later told The Associated Press that "they are not being released — they are leaving us, as we promised them."

              You have to admit that is pretty dumb.
              Can you find similar stupidity from Euromaidan demonstrators?
              I need some 'balance'.

              •  Statistically there have to be Euromaidan dolts. (0+ / 0-)

                And the quote is pretty dumb, but are you trying to label all pro-Russians as dolts with one quote?

                Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

                by InAntalya on Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:39:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  That mayor has probably done more harm to (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ER Doc, InAntalya

                the Pro-Russian cause than anyone else, with his blatant homophobia, his open admissions of Russians being amongst his troops, and his treatment of both OSCE observers and journalists like Simon Ostrovsky.

                He revealed the ugly side of the Pro-Russian national chauvinist movement, the one driven by an ideology of Russian supremacy and fueled by hate.

                Some of the guys fighting with him, like the guys who have destroyed 3 Ukrainian helicopters, obviously are not dolts, though.

                They just picked a bad spokesman.

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

                by Lawrence on Sat May 03, 2014 at 08:18:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  quite obviously (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              padeius, InAntalya, Lepanto

              there is no black and white answer to either your question or the symmetric other.

              people simply have to live with levels of grey! I totally dislike this insticnt of so many people here that seems to claim that either one side must be good, and the other therefore bad, or vice versa.

              A movement like Euromaidan can have external influencers and internal popular support both - it is not a contradiction. The same holds for people in the East. It can even be, without contradiction, that the balance in the Euromaidan strongly goes towards internal base, and in the east towards external base. These things are judgement calls, that is, they require actual info and knowledge to answer.

              None of us has the full knowledge, and we should therefore try not to force each other into black-and-white "you support fascists and I fight them" rhetoric.

            •  It is extremely relevant to note whether (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              InAntalya, Dauphin, ER Doc, DeeDee001

              actions were violent and armed in the beginning or not, as it can tell you a lot about outside involvement and motives.

              Euromaidan was an overwhelmingly Ukrainian movement while the very violent pro-Russian stuff is a bizarre mix of locals and non-Ukrainians, with lots of the highly armed guys with military training being from outside Ukraine.

              Very different movements with very different motivations and hugely different levels of support from the Ukrainian people.

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

              by Lawrence on Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:40:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Then please note it, as you have now done so (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lawrence, Dauphin

                very well here. The charge of false equivalency was unnecessary to the point you want to make.

                Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

                by InAntalya on Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:44:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Who is "Ukrainian"? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lawrence, DeeDee001

                It is important to note that a great many of the Russians in the eastern Ukraine are in fact not particularly Ukrainian at all and were brought in expressly to be Russians living in Ukraine to create ties to RUssia.  The Soviets followed this policy in all the SSRs.  

                Thus, some of the people involved here are pretty much transplanted Russians, which explains the interest in joining Russia.  I think Putin wants them all to come home.  He just wants them to bring their land with them.

            •  As I have said (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tony Situ

              both protests have solid basis from significant segments of society and arose probably more or less spontaneously.  However, the trajectory of the two are radically different. Euromaidan was in fact a peaceful protest camp, OWS style, for weeks and weeks before the state attacked.  I think the democrats in Ukraine have gotten outside support for their activities for many many years.  

              In Donbass, the first action was to attack government facilities, much as it was in Crimea.  There was never any kind of sustained mass protest.  

              Does this difference suggest that there is a difference in the two in terms of how they were supported and what actions were supported?  I believe it does.  Generally, only particular elements move immediately to violence.  Personally, my hypothesis is that Putin found some very useful agents among the neo nazis and ultranationalists in the east who were ready to cause chaos, much as the worst elements of Svoboda and Right Sector were ready to step in with force in Kyiv.  I think they played much the same role, in fact in both cases, although Euromaidan actually had a mass movement to go along with it.

              •  Regarding the existance of two popular movements: (0+ / 0-)

                violent factions emerged after a popular movement was subjected to brutal repression,


                violent factions' actions were followed by the emergence of a popular movement.

                I feel that there are two general popular movements in Ukraine now (and two general groupings of violent factions), that these two general popular movements are equally legitimate, and that the order in which they emerged, relative to violent actions, doesn't matter.

                There are multiple examples in history of popular movements emerging after factional violence, and the order in which they emerged does not negate their legitimacy.

                Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

                by InAntalya on Sat May 03, 2014 at 10:20:46 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  The only honest answer I can give is that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        padeius, Meteor Blades

        I have no idea. To be able to answer that hypothetical in any way except complete guesswork would require knowledge of social relations in Ukraine, of its regional relations, and of the public mood in Eastern Ukraine which I do not have.

        Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

        by Dauphin on Sat May 03, 2014 at 05:22:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  PLease don't (0+ / 0-)

        call them Russian soldiers unless you ahve solid evidence.   THat's gotten hopelessly muddy.

        And would they be protesting, probably the 20-30%% of the population that favors this, sure.  Would they have been as successful at taking over?  Probably not.

        Then again, keep in mind the Nazis took over Germany with under 35% support by following these same tactics.  Being a better armed bully than the general population can get you a long, long way, so Russian arms are probably pretty instrumental here.

    •  When you are droning half the world you lose moral (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      padeius, Lepanto, fran1, Sandino

      credibility on everything.

  •  FYI (5+ / 0-)

    These were my responses to a Thomas Friedman column in the NYT, they seem relevant here as well.

    Nov 21, 2013:

    "Russia is willing to take part in tripartite negotiations with Ukraine and the EU, but only if they are held before Ukraine signs an association agreement with the EU, Russian President Vladimir Putin said."

    November 29, 2013:

    The EU-Ukraine association agreement cannot be elaborated in the EU-Ukraine-Russia tripartite format, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said at a press conference after the Eastern Partnership Vilnius summit.

    He rejected as unacceptable the tripartite negotiations and the interference of a third country in the bilateral agreement and said there could not be a tripartite format in the elaboration of the bilateral agreement between the EU and Ukraine.

    Some columns ago, Thomas Friedman at the NYT tried to convince us: "It would have been nice if we could have forged a compromise with President Vladimir Putin of Russia that would have allowed Ukraine to gradually join the European Union and not threaten him. President Obama tried to find such a win-win formula. But Putin is not into win-win here. He is into win-lose. So he must lose, for the sake of Ukraine and Russia."

    Why was the offer of tripartite talks rejected outright?

    Friedman wants us to believe that the Association Agreement Ukraine wanted to sign with the European Union had no military implications. Maybe he can explain these clauses from the draft Association Agreement?

    Article 7: The Parties shall intensify their dialogue and cooperation and promote gradual convergence in the area of foreign and security policy, including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)...

    Article 10: The Parties shall enhance practical cooperation in conflict prevention and crisis management, in particular with a view to increasing the participation of Ukraine in EU-led civilian and military crisis management operations as well as relevant exercises and training activities, including those
    carried out in the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).....The Parties shall explore the potential of military - technological cooperation. Ukraine and the European Defence Agency (EDA) shall establish close contacts to discuss military capability improvement, including technological issues.

    •  Further (5+ / 0-)

      As a follow-up to my own comment, read up on Europe's Common Security and Defence Policy on Wiki, in particular,

      I have no desire to be seen as a defender of Putin's actions. I do object strongly to the NYT continuously feeding us Friedman as though we the readers cannot fact-check him. But given the draft Association Agreement I quoted above, expecting us to believe this is an insult to the intelligence: "It wants to sign an “Association Agreement” that would provide Ukrainian companies more unfettered access to European markets and require them to abide by E.U. regulations, which Ukrainian reformers believe would help drive more rule of law inside their own country and make it more globally competitive. The Ukrainians want to import E.U. rules, not NATO missiles!'


      I am so mad that I'm in that "cancel my subscription" mood. Trying to talk myself out of it. Let us see.

      1. Our & Europe's government officials aim a dagger at the heart of Russia.

      2. Russia reacts (I don't want to defend their reaction).

      3. NYT feeds us David Brooks lamenting that we the electorate, are not willing to support his wonderful "liberal system" for which he is unwilling to pay a dime more in taxes - but the electorate must send their children to fight and die ; and Friedman trying to convince us that all we & Ukraine did was innocent and good and only for civilian trade, when the Association Agreement the EU & Ukraine were to sign so clearly had military implications.

      The NYT might want a liberal/centrist/conservative balance -- and that is fine. What is not fine is treating the readers like idiots, presenting fallacious arguments, incorrect statements and utterly shopworn commentary. These are not OpEds from independent writers whom the NYT may not want to edit; these columnists are employed by the NYT. Fie upon thee, NYT!

      •  After that (6+ / 0-)

        I suggest you read this:

        How the US foments revolutions abroad.  It is probably justifiable in the case of Serbia, but why Ukraine, why now?

        •  So if I am to understand this info correctly (0+ / 0-)

          basically the EU created this mess and is completely uninterested in cleaning up the mess they have made.

          "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy" James Madison 4th US President

          by padeius on Sat May 03, 2014 at 05:51:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that's what they're trying to say (0+ / 0-)

            of course, this view pretends that Ukrainians are mindless automatons with no independent interests of their own.  If you are willing to accept that premise, then yeah, you can reach the conclusion that this is all the EU's doing.

            Of course, if you don't take the neocolonial view of Ukrainians, you might notice two things:  Economic growth in POland in association with the EU greatly outstripped economic growth Ukraine with its close ties to Russia and Ukraine has a giant neighbor with a big military and prominent figures who express territorial ambitions on your country.  If you were the president of Ukraine, what policies would you pursue?

        •  why Ukraine, why now? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          truong son traveler, Sandino, native

          simply quite possibly because of all those on the list Ukraine was the easiest to do at this time (Syria has proved a harder nut than expected, hasn't it?)

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

          by Lepanto on Sat May 03, 2014 at 06:20:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It has taken them a few years to (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lepanto, fran1, Azazello, protectspice

            get their ducks in a row. A lot of planning and preparation goes into regime change operations. The CIA has been active in Ukraine for decades. NGOs for several years preparing the groundwork.

            Perhaps the regime change failure in Syria has accelerated the time table for Ukraine.

            In The Grand Chessboard Ukraine is specifically mentioned as being a "key geopolitical pivot" and that the identification of such pivots is a crucial aspect of America's global geostrategy.

            America's global strategy is one of US primacy and control of Eurasia is a very important part of that as Obama's former foreign policy mentor makes perfectly clear in his book.

            Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

            by truong son traveler on Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:11:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  steps in the new great game: control of energy (4+ / 0-)

              Syria a step in the march to Tehran
              Ukraine a step in the march to Moscow

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

              by Lepanto on Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:14:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And the "pivot to Asia" (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lepanto, fran1, Azazello, protectspice

                along with the TPP in order to contain China.

                Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

                by truong son traveler on Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:21:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  well folks if this is some kind of grand strategy (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                for the USA to end up with a complete hegemony over the energy sector the strategy does not seem to be working very well.  If on the other hand you are hypothesizing about a corporate/oligarchic hegemony over the energy sector, I think we are already there.

                As for uncle Brzezinski's book, well Putin has read it and didn't like it and is now eating our fruit loops.  That is mainly because the book was written before the Supreme court decided George Bush and Darth Cheney should run the USA into the ground literally.  Oh and then they drove us off a cliff so they could have a few extra Billions to retire on.

                "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy" James Madison 4th US President

                by padeius on Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:29:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  you're quite right (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  padeius, fran1, Azazello, protectspice

                  it's not the USA, it is the corporate oligarchy

                  similarly, there's no American Empire (as some would have it), the empire is that of the transnational corporations which for their war needs use the US military as their unpaid mercs

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

                  by Lepanto on Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:43:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  On this point I will quite reluctantly have (0+ / 0-)

                    to agree, We the People have so totally been lulled into a false sense of (insert so many different ways we have been lulled into so many different things) most people do not even care what is wrong anymore.

                    I hesitate to go down the road of the .01% or the 400 or the other names they may be called so I just will not do it here.

                    "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy" James Madison 4th US President

                    by padeius on Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:53:21 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  I hate these neocolonial attitudes (0+ / 0-)

              in all of this debate, not one of you is asking "what makes sense for Ukrainians to do?" as if this country of 45 million people doesn't have any interests of its own and is merely a chess pawn to be moved about in your rhetorical and geopolitical board.

              Frankly, this question is the first one to be asked here.

      •  The NYT is just another voice (6+ / 0-)

        which reflects what the ruling establishment wants people to believe. Mostly lies, propaganda and misinformation.

        Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

        by truong son traveler on Sat May 03, 2014 at 06:51:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  you presume (0+ / 0-)

        that it wasn't the Ukrainian government that wanted those military provisions, not the EU.  After all, every other country in eastern europe bar Belarus has clamored for this kind of military association with western europe

        In any event, why would Russia get a seat at a negotiation between two parties, neither of which is Russia?  Does the US get to be involved in tripartite negotiations of trade deals between Russia and China, say?  Of course not.

  •  You can tell what is going on. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, DeeDee001

    In Eastern Ukraine, there are a lot of pro-Russians so the Ukrainians keep their heads down to avoid trouble but in Odessa there were fewer pro-Russians so the Ukrainians
    (soccer fans) fought back.
    Putin's street theater is a distraction.
    The question is if his fans will allow a free election to occur on May 25th.
    After that the Kiev government will probably allow federalism, but that is not Putin's goal. He wants to absorb
    Novorussiya or cause enough chaos so the Ukrainian state will collapse, and the EU will walk away.

    The 'mess' was caused by Yanukovych who signed a pact with Putin against the wishes of the people of Kiev.

    The 'coup' was caused by the thief Yanukovych running away leaving a vacuum so the Rada voted in a new government(with some East Ukraine delegates).

    The EU has sympathy and money for Ukraine but won't fight for it, neither will NATO or the US.
    Russia doesn't want to conquer their 'brother' so Putin
    will send in nameless 'de-programmers' to bring them back
    into the fold.
    Ukrainians wants to do what they want.

    •  I agree with your thumbnail assessment and I (0+ / 0-)

      would add that we (here in the US, UK etc) don't really grasp the linguistic and cultural dynamic at play here. If we put aside for the moment whose agents are stirring things up, and consider the day-to-day interactions in various parts of Ukraine one thing is likely to be obvious:
      In Lviv, a street conversation between two strangers will probably open up in Ukrainian. The same encounter in Donetsk will probably open up in Russian. In Odessa - hard to say.

      It sounds trivial to us, but it's at the heart of the Quebec separatist movement in Canada to ensure that such a conversation in Montreal opens up in French, and similarly the Catalans in Barcelona want that street conversation to default to Catalan. Thankfully, apart from Glaswegians, language is not an issue in the Scottish referendum.

      It's hard to put it in an American context, since the Spanish/English language divide (the nearest equivalent) is thoroughly racialised, so the assumption would be that the two strangers on a Miami street would know which language to use based on appearance.

      The final observation I would make on this is the fact that Russian speaking has been deeply associated with dominance (ask a Francophone Quebecer about living in a "sea of english") - and I suspect many Russian speakers are Ukrainian in name only, and readily dismiss their "compatriots" language and culture. They may not want to join Putin's fascist Russia, but they also have to decide whether they're prepared to be part of western Europe, there's not much future in the Donetsk Peoples Republic.

  •  Regardless of who's a hero and who's a villain, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    padeius, Azazello, fran1, Mindful Nature

    Russia and the USA are butting heads in Ukraine like a couple of horny bulls. The contest is fascinating and dangerous but it is not helping ordinary Ukrainians at all.

    Russian patriots are cheering their champions and American patriots are cheering theirs, to the point where most dialogue has devolved into a shouting match. John Kerry is acting the role of a partisan, not a diplomat.

    It is worth keeping in mind that Russia and the US still have nuclear weapons pointed at each other. Idiotically.

    •  Not to be too pessimistic (0+ / 0-)

      But at least Global Thermonuclear war would be a quick and mostly painless way for most of the population on Earth to go.

      I mean either we poison ourselves with Co2 while destabilizing global weather to the point that it brings about a slow death over a decade or 2.  Or just blow ourselves to hell right now and not have to worry about the long slow goodbye.

      This is partial snark and partial lack of faith in humanity to do anything good or right.

      "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy" James Madison 4th US President

      by padeius on Sat May 03, 2014 at 08:03:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Putin this, Putin that, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    it's so tiresome. This thing in Ukraine is a Bankster Power-Play, regime change for the benefit of international finance capital. When that drunken crook Boris Yeltsin and his gangster pals were dismembering the Soviet Union and looting its resources, he was hailed as a great reformer. Clinton sang his praises. You know what ? Vladimir Putin was Yeltsin's hand-picked successor. In order to believe this crap about Putin's bullying, or Putin's territorial ambitions, or Putin's secret plan for world domination, you have to ignore the actual sequence of events. The annexation of Crimea happened after the coup in Kiev. NATO expansion is the issue, Russia is on the defensive.
    Read history, don't fall victim to PDS.

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Sat May 03, 2014 at 08:53:00 AM PDT

    •  not only read the history, thanks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Azazello, Tony Situ

      My family lived it.  And yes, the fall of the Soviet Union was unequivocally a good thing.  Sadly, not all of Russians are thrilled with losing their empire.

      I am pretty damned close to HRing this incredibly insensitive comment, because it pisses on the memory of the millions who died, or were exiled, tortured and imprisoned under the Soviets.

      •  Here's Anna Politkovskaya: (0+ / 0-)
            The changes since the end of the Soviet era have been threefold. First, we underwent a personal revolution (in parallel, of course, with the social revolution) at the time of the demise of the Soviet Union and during the regime of Boris Yeltsin. Everything vanished in an instant: Soviet ideology, cheap sausage, money, and the certainty that there was a Big Daddy in the Kremlin; even if he was a despot, at least he was responsible for us.
            The second change came with the 1998 debt default. Many of us had managed to earn a bit in the years after 1991, when the market economy was introduced, and there were signs that a middle class was being formed. A Russian middle class, admittedly, not like what you might find in the West, but a middle class nonetheless, one that would support democracy and the free market. Overnight, it all disappeared. By then, many people were so tired of the daily struggle for survival that they could not rise to the new challenge; they simply sank without a trace.
            The third change came under Putin, as we embarked on a new stage of Russian capitalism with neo-Soviet features. The economy in the era of our third president is a curious hybrid of the free market, ideological dogma, and various other features. It is a model that puts Soviet ideology at the service of big-time private capital. There are an awful lot of poor, indeed destitute, people. In addition, an old phenomenon is flourishing again: the nomenklatura, a ruling elite, the great bureaucratic class that existed under the Soviet system. The economic system may have changed, but members of the elite have adapted to it. The nomenklatura would like to live the high life, like the New Russian business elite, only their official salaries are tiny. They have no desire to return to the old Soviet system, but neither does the new system entirely suit them. The problem is that it requires law and order, something that Russian society is demanding ever more insistently; accordingly, the nomenklatura spends most of its time trying to get around the law in order to promote its status.
            As a result, Putin’s new-old nomenklatura has taken corruption to heights undreamed of under the Communists or Yeltsin. It is now devouring small and middle-size businesses, and with them the middle class. It is giving big and super-big business, the monopolies and quasi-state enterprises, the opportunity to develop. (In other words, they are the nomenklatura’s preferred source of bribes.) Indeed, they represent the kinds of businesses that produce the highest, most stable returns not only for their owners and managers but also for their patrons in state administration. In Russia, big business without patrons, or “curators,” in the state administration does not exist. This misconduct has nothing to do with market forces. Putin is trying to gain the support of the so-called byvshie, the ci-devants, who occupied leadership positions under the Soviet regime. Their hankering after old times is so strong that the ideology underpinning Putin-style capitalism is increasingly reminiscent of the thinking in the Soviet Union during the period of stagnation in the late Brezhnev years – the late 1970s and early 1980s.
        That's from Putin's Russia, 2004. The dissolution of the Soviet Union was a disaster and it's got nothing at all to do with "empire." Under Western guidance the USSR was turned into a mafiya state. Life expectancy in Russia actually went down under Yeltsin and his cronies. HR all you want, like I care.

        The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

        by Azazello on Sat May 03, 2014 at 10:15:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  tell that (0+ / 0-)

          to the Estonians, the Latvians, the Lithuanians, the Ukrainians, the Poles, the Hungarians, the Bulgarians, the Czechs, the Germans, the Tatars, the Chechens, the Kyrgiz, the Uzbeks, the Kazakhs, the Turkmens, and all the others that it had nothing to do with empire.

          I'm sure they'll be hell of surprised.

          •  What are you talking about ? (0+ / 0-)

            It's 2014 and you bring up the Iron Curtain, countries the Bolsheviks occupied in 1940 ? Please, get yourself up to date.

            The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

            by Azazello on Sat May 03, 2014 at 10:25:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You said, read history (0+ / 0-)

              so I am talking about history.  As I said, the fall of the Soviet Union was a good thing.  And that happened in 1991, not 1940 and is directly responsible for the rush of the countries in Eastern Europe to join NATO.  Russia may be on the defensive, but only because its former colonies fled its grasp as fast as they could when they had the chance.  It isn't derangement to try to escape the orbit of the former colonial power.  

              So, clearly I am merely responding to your comment since it didn't seem to understand the history.  As I said, Russia isn't "defensive" so much as it seems to be grasping to regain its former colonies.  I don't think the Tatars or the rest of the Ukraine are any threat to Russia whatsoever.  I am amused by people justifying invasions as some defensive move, maybe in response to an "imminent threat."  I thought that kind of thinking was pretty clearly discredited by Rumsfeld, Powell, Bush and Cheney.

              •  Here's a really simple question, (0+ / 0-)

                which happened first, the Russian occupation of Crimea or the coup in Kiev ? Do you believe that Putin somehow started the Maidan protests so he'd have an excuse to occupy Crimea ? That's not what happened. Crimea has been an important part of Russia since Catherine's time. The Russians, and then The Red Army, were besieged in Sebastopol twice trying to defend Crimea from invasion. No Russian leader, Tsar, Party Secretary or President is ever going to allow Crimea to be split off. After the coup in Kiev, and the installation of a NATO-friendly regime, the Russians feared the loss of Crimea and occupied it. That's what happened.  

                The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

                by Azazello on Sat May 03, 2014 at 10:49:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I see (0+ / 0-)

                  So you are interested in a selective reading of history to support Russian imperial ambitions?  You might realize that a NATO friendly government ruled Ukraine after the Orange Revolution also

                  Yes, and they were defending their colony from Turkey.  I suppose that's why they ethnically cleansed the Muslims out of Crimea

                  •  Not at all. (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm telling you that Russia has no imperial ambitions; the IMF does, the banksters do, multinational corporations do. This is about economics and resources, not justice for aggrieved nationalities that Stalin deported from Crimea.

                    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

                    by Azazello on Sat May 03, 2014 at 12:21:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Oh I see (0+ / 0-)

                      Putin has no imperial ambitions which is why he keeps invading neighbors, but the IMF, which has no army and rules no territory does.  

                      Hard to keep up with the delusions du jour

                      •  Again, do you think the Russians (0+ / 0-)

                        instigated the Maidan protests in order to fulfill imperial ambitions ? Did they really bring in right-wing thugs and force an elected government out of office as part of some devious plot to gain territory ? This is the 21st century, maybe 19th or 20th century thinking isn't really helpful.

                        The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

                        by Azazello on Sat May 03, 2014 at 01:24:26 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Apparently though (0+ / 0-)

                          you think the IMF did just that.

                          I do think that Russia took advantage of instability as a cover.  I think the Ukranian people got sick of a kleptocratic and authoritarian regime and protested against a deeply unpopular president who then got thrown out by Parliament by his own party after shooting protestors.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all the CT about how it was the right wing neofascists who wanted to make a deal with the EU to support Wall Street or something.

                          DOn't freaking bother me

        •  To follow on (0+ / 0-)

          That is Putin's Russia  That article completely and utterly ignores the entire rest of the former Soviet empire.  I guess as colonial entitites, they aren't worth noticing at all?  Only Russia counts?  And people accuse me of cold war thinking?

          Yes, Russia is royally screwed, but then some of that has to do with who Russians have voted for back when there was something resembling fair elections.  Yabloko and other liberal groups have never fared well.  The fact is that Putin is actually pretty popular in Russia.  So who is to blame here for this?  Certainly the banksters haven't helped, but they sure as hell aren't that all powerful.  They had a lot of help from Russians themselves.

          •  That's not an article, it's a book, (0+ / 0-)

            and there are others you could read if you were interested. Iosef Vissarionovich has been dead since 1953, a lot had happened since then. As for the former SSRs, in each case former nomenklatura set themselves up as satraps. Do you know anything about the current leaders of Uzbekistan or Turmenistan ? I'm not at all sure that the people of those republics are better off now than they were under Gorbachev. Maybe you know better.

            The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

            by Azazello on Sat May 03, 2014 at 10:34:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Balts sure are (0+ / 0-)

              no, many of them are in pretty dire shape of course, like many countries.  But the ones that joined NATO are vastly better off than they were under the Soviets of any era, that is unequivolcal.  A lot has happened since then, a lot of it horrible.  Since Putin is a self-professed admirer of Stalin's, I'm not sure he's half as dead as we wish he were.

  •  There are NO heroes to be found here. (0+ / 0-)

    I, too, am becoming more and more of an isolationist. I would love to be able to vote for a presidential candidate that combines Rand Paul's foreign policy with Bernie Sanders' economic, environmental, and social positions. There being no such animal on the horizon, I'll just have to content myself with enjoying this music video.

    "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius." -- Arnaud Amaury

    by terremoto on Sat May 03, 2014 at 09:11:53 AM PDT

  •  The 1980s want their spheres of influence back, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and it looks like they're going to get them.

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