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Only days ago it seemed that the 28 members of the European Union didn’t have it in them to jeopardize their relationship with Russia, for the sake of Crimea or Ukraine.  

For the last several months, Angela Merkel spoke to Vladimir Putin on the telephone at least once a week. There’s an entry on the Russian government website for each conversation with a brief summary. Since April 30, Merkel and Putin talked about finding a solution to the crisis in Ukraine 17 times. Here’s an example:

François Hollande spoke to Putin about the situation in Ukraine 10 times since April 30. He also hosted Putin and Merkel at the D-Day commemoration in Normandy in June.

 Petro Poroshenko spoke to Putin on the phone six times since he was elected President of Ukraine last May 25th.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands spoke to Putin by phone six times since MH17 went down on July 17.

After all these conversations failed to improve the situation in Ukraine,  the EU announced its decision to impose sanctions on Russia as a penalty for the actions it condemns:

"The package of new restrictive measures agreed today by the European Union constitutes a powerful signal to the leaders of the Russian Federation: destabilising Ukraine, or any other Eastern European neighbouring State, will bring heavy costs to its economy. Russia will find itself increasingly isolated by its own actions."
Here's a link to the rest of the statement.

Russkiy Mir

(Russian World)

Russia has big plans and more ambition than it can financially afford. It stretches across 9 time zones but it still needed to possess a small area the size of Massachusetts that somehow ended up on Ukraine’s side of the border. Of course, it was Crimea’s location, not its size, that made it so irresistible. For centuries, Russia’s lack of inhibition about borders, its own sense of itself as borderless, led to a natural fondness for all of its neighbors’ irresistible land.  

The people of that era who lived farther west where land ends did the same thing as Russia but they had to get on board sailing ships to do it. Russia expanded while staying on dry land. Maybe it hasn't let go of its empire because it's harder to do when it isn’t oceans away, like Spain's or Britain's, even if its disintegration is as inevitable as any empire’s.

Russia is an anachronism. In the modern era, empire's have disappeared and even the nation state is crumbling as money, power, and influence concentrates into the hands of a privileged few. Rather than contemplate its own irrelevance in the modern world, Russia turns to neo-traditionalism, to its past, and to its familiar self which doesn’t progress so much as expand. Ukraine is halfway between the reality of Russkiy Mir and the other reality of a modern, liberal Europe.

Too much is made of the natural gas Russia supplies to the EU. The greedy oligarchs who control Russia’s vast natural resources depend on willing buyers. They didn’t bother to build a diversified economy or a broad and prosperous middle class outside of the cities where they live. They have to sell natural gas, and when they do, it must be at the price that Russia needs to survive.  The narrative about Europeans who depend on the mercy of Russia to keep the natural gas pipelines flowing is only half-true.

In reality, Russia depends on capital that flows from its suppliers in the West. The EU's sanction to restrict the flow of capital has the potential to hinder all of Russia’s ambitious plans. On July 23, Vladimir Putin met with Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). The Russian government's website provides a transcript of their interesting conversation. Here's a bit of it.

Kirill Dmitriev: Thanks in part to our work, Russia was in third place last year, as you know, in attracting foreign investments.
Vladimir Putin: The US was in first place, China was in second (with what, 127?) and we have 97.
Kirill Dmitriev: Yes, and this is a jump from eighth place to third in just one year. What’s important is that investors are still interested – $3.6 trillion investments came to meet in St Petersburg [International Economic Forum] – and investors say that they strongly oppose sanctions, which they see as a very dangerous precedent for their own countries and their own economies.
Vladimir Putin: Indeed.
It’s easy to picture what could happen to Russia’s economy if the flow of capital is shut off. Investors can diversify and reallocate elsewhere from their laptops. Similarly, Russia can diversify as a supplier of natural gas to other markets away from the EU, too, but it has no advantage because it needs more than a laptop. It needs infrastructure and technical expertise. The sanctions will be a hindrance to both.

Meanwhile, the US is gearing up to enter the field as a liquid natural gas exporter and Russia has no ability to compete because of the artificial price it needs to sustain itself. There isn’t a true global market for natural gas and Russia disguises its arbitrary pricing by linking it to the price of crude. When the US reaches the target capacity that meets demand in Japan, Korea, and the EU, it will supply liquid natural gas at a true market price lower than the level Russia needs for its own reasons.

Japan signaled this week that it likes this idea very much by jumping on the sanctions bandwagon, too.

Now there isn’t any reason for anyone in the world to gloat about Russia getting screwed seven ways 'till Sunday by the sanctions. The competition is between the West’s oligarchs and Russia’s oligarchs. The rest of us are bystanders.

Competition will probably matter much more than sanctions as Russia struggles to free itself of its internal limitations. It's not entirely clear how the sanctions would be applied in every instance. Is the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell going to look at joint projects like the one at Sakhalin differently now that MH17 went down? Or is he going to put the interest of the company's shareholders before all else?

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Comment Preferences

  •  I doubt it, myself. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fran1, Mark Lippman, tardis10, limpidglass

    Yes, the West could inflict quite a bit of pain on Russia (although in the process it would harm itself as well). But I do not think it likely that Russia will back down, no matter the pain inflicted.

    You see, Putin's moves have been wildly popular domestically. If I remember my polls right, his approval rating rose from barely over 50% to high 70s/mid 80s across all demographics. Backing down over Ukraine would be a political disaster and would shatter Putin's image as a tough guy, a quintessential Russian muzhik.

    Basically, there's a very good chance that demanding that Putin cease his disruption without getting anything in return would likely be equivalent to asking for regime change. And I doubt that Putin will say yes to that, no matter how angry the oligarchs become. And even dissatisfied oligarchs most likely would not be able to stage a palace coup with Putin having those popularity numbers (remember what happened to the coup against Chavez?).

    In short, this will probably get very, very ugly.

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

    by Dauphin on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 11:52:00 AM PDT

  •  this is indeed the "silly season", (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fran1, mimi, Utahrd, eightlivesleft

    to use Obama's phrase.

    The EU is not in any shape economically to weather sanctions.

    Exacerbating matters is the fact that the eurozone is inherently inequitable and unjust. Germany has effective control over the common currency of the eurozone, a situation which they (and powerful banks such as Goldman Sachs) have taken full advantage of.

    Germany is a big trading partner with Russia. Do you think the Germans are willing to sacrifice their standard of living for the sake of Ukraine? Think they're that noble, that determined to fight for truth, justice, and the American way blah blah blah ad infinitum, that they will bear the burden of fighting the evil Rooskies? This is sheerest fantasy.

    In order to maintain their prized status as an exporting nation, they'll seek to devalue the euro further by spreading the pain among other eurozone nations, just like they have done before. More demands for austerity from the periphery nations, more draconian cuts, resulting in more human suffering, more political instability, and the rise of even more fascist, ultranationalist, and Euroskeptic movements.

    The EU is unstable enough. Are they willing to risk even greater instability, perhaps even fracturing the eurozone itself, just to teach Putin a lesson?

    On the other hand, Russian nationalism has been awakened by the coup in the Ukraine and the subsequent US/EU full-court press. Remember, they suffered tremendous losses against Hitler's armies without capitulating. They might well endure the bite of sanctions, out of patriotism. When you back someone into a corner, they always become more determined and more unified, they dig in.

    Obama has turned this into a dangerous game of chicken. And it's not clear his partners have the guts not to blink. For Obama, of course, this is risk-free. (Like every move he's ever made in his political career).

    This is a proxy war as far as the US is concerned--they have no skin in the game. If the EU should come out on top, Russia's been weakened. If the EU should suffer damage, so much the better--they'll be that much more desperate and more open to measures like the TTIP which further transfer European sovereignty to Washington.

    Our foreign policy poohbahs are completely out of ideas. All they know how to do is wreck, punish, destroy. They back religious fanatics (Syria), exceptionally vicious aristocrats (Venezuela), and out and out fascists (Ukraine).

    This reckless course of sanctions is all of piece with this destructive mindset. And as with everything else, there will be blowback.

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

    by limpidglass on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 12:19:07 PM PDT

    •  Here's the list of Germany's biggest trading (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bananapouch1, ozsea1, charlatan

      partners as of 2013. These figures are in USD. Imports plus exports.

      France 220,110,095,100
      Netherlands 214,633,909,060
      China 188,488,753,660
      United States 183,349,723,680
      United Kingdom 158,326,950,940
      Italy 134,461,738,540
      Austria 124,602,116,360
      Switzerland 114,653,589,200
      Belgium 108,831,750,160
      Poland 104,926,711,440
      Russia 102,532,124,740
      I think people may be overestimating the importance of Russia to the EU.

      Germany doesn't control the Euro. The European Central Bank does.

      There are 28 EU members with vastly different economies. Some of them have a lot of potential for growth. Others not.

      •  the German Bundesbank is the largest (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        contributor to the ECB, that's why they have so much influence over it. They have even explicitly demanded even more control over the ECB.

        Russia doesn't need to be the "biggest" trading partner for anti-Russian sanctions to have an effect. Then too, since several German trading partners are European nations which could themselves be adversely affected by sanctions, there could be second-order effects on Germany as those partners struggle with the impact of sanctions.

        There are 28 EU members with vastly different economies. Some of them have a lot of potential for growth. Others not.
        The EU doesn't have much of a coordinated economic policy, besides the senseless Stability and Growth Pact which requires each member state to keep its deficit and debt below some fixed, arbitrarily chosen limit. Since there is no mechanism for fiscal transfer from richer EU nations to poorer, this is inherently unfair to poorer nations and exacerbates inequality.

        In the US, the federal government carries out such transfers from state to state in the form of federal programs, like welfare. We don't just let, say Mississippi, languish and rot if they're not doing well. We subsidize them so that people don't starve--that's what makes us a federation and not a confederation. This is not true in Europe.

        This is why sanctions can have such unpredictable effects.

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

        by limpidglass on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 01:12:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ukrainians are not fascists (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Lippman

      Please stop spreading Putin propaganda points. Also, trade with Russia isn't that important for the EU. It can survive without it. And TTIP won't result in European sovereignty being transferred to Washington (any more than US sovereignty will be transferred to Brussels).

      •  I didn't say "Ukrainians are fascists" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I said the US was backing fascists in Ukraine. I'd appreciate it if you didn't put words in my mouth.

        Please stop spreading Putin propaganda points.
        This is a typical smear that avoids dealing with the substance of an argument.
        trade with Russia isn't that important for the EU. It can survive without it.
        What's your point? We can "survive" without automobiles, penicillin, agriculture, and the Internet. But life would be much, much harder. Same with the EU and Russian trade relations.
        TTIP won't result in European sovereignty being transferred to Washington (any more than US sovereignty will be transferred to Brussels).
        What do you call a treaty that allows the US to bypass European labor, environmental, and consumer protection laws by joining the US to Europe in a giant free-trade zone governed by private corporate-dominated transnational tribunals?

        You're quite right that no US sovereignty will be transferred to Brussels, for the US-EU relationship goes only one way. We say jump, they say how high.

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

        by limpidglass on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 02:17:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In the EU, Moscow's alliance with far-right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          extremist neo-fascist political parties is very visible and publicized. In Ukraine, Svoboda candidates were elected to the Parliament in 2012. The US isn't known in the EU for supporting any of these unsavory far-right extreme nationalists in other countries. It makes no sense to say the US backs them in Ukraine either.

          I understand how the tale was fabricated but I also know that it only sounds right to people who lack information. If you are sure of what you say, then how would you explain the agreement signed on Feb 21 by:
          Viktor Yanukovych, President of Ukraine
          Vitaliy Klichko, UDAR  
          Oleh Tyahnibok, Svoboda
          Arsenij Yatseniuk, Batkivshchyna  
          Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland
          Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany
          Laurent Fabius, France
          Vladimir Lukin, Russia

          Did Vladimir Lukin and the foreign ministers of Germany, France, and Poland sign an agreement with a neo-fascist, Oleh Tyahnibok, who heads Svoboda ???

          There's a copy of the agreement on the German foreign minister's website:


        •  Any attempt to question the narrative (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          limpidglass, Duckmg, fran1

          propagated by this Administration on anything pertaining to Ukraine is being dismissed instantly as either a conspiracy theory, or propagandizing for Putin. And the sad part is that this country could have benefitted, politically and economically, from a rapprochement with Russia, but that's likely impossible now, for years.

          The EU will be fortunate to survive in its current form for another decade no matter what it does here, but that's another topic entirely.  As far as energy supplies are concerned, I predict that any European nation hoping to rely on our alleged status as the next Saudi Arabia is going to regret it deeply.

          A terrible beauty is born. --W.B. Yeats

          by eightlivesleft on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 03:41:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I cited the Russian government's website and the (0+ / 0-)

            European Union's website as the sources of the information I compiled. Obama and his administration are mentioned nowhere in the piece. Maybe you were referring to something else but the last sentence of your comment sounds like a reference to part of the diary.

            Why would I go to for my information instead of a familiar commercial news outlet? Why would I refer readers directly the EU website instead of The Guardian or Der Spiegel? Even in my comments I referenced the UNHCR and OSCE, not commercial media.

            The world isn't so simple that we only have a limited choice in what we can believe pertaining to Ukraine and Russia. No one has to choose between only two narratives, the Administration's or Stephen Cohen's.

            People who want truth manage to find it. Those who don't only know what they're told which isn't much.

            •  My comment (0+ / 0-)

              wasn't a critique of your diary so much as it was in support of the person I replied to.  I haven't read or heard anything Stephen Cohen has to say on Ukraine, and I don't know who he is, but I gather from extremely hostile comments in various diaries that he is skeptical of John Kerry and the mainstream media, both of whom found their "truth" largely from unproven claims on Ukrainian social media.

              Europe's gas is going to have to come from somewhere.  And one of the reasons why this country is really throwing its weight around heedless of consequences is the energy industry propaganda view that we're going to be not only energy independent, but a major exporter.  It's legitimate to ask if Europe was promised anything in exchange for sanctions, and if so, whether that promise can be delivered upon.

              A terrible beauty is born. --W.B. Yeats

              by eightlivesleft on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 07:14:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I write about the EU-US relationship from the EU (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                point of view. Americans don't know that the EU & US are on a collision course over the NSA practice of mass surveillance. The EU Parliament already resolved that the free-trade agreement is contingent upon ending mass surveillance with legislation in Congress.The US may end facing sanctions if something doesn't change. The UK is a one-off that closely mirrors US policy. Poland, Hungary, Czech Rep, and Slovakia share a joint anti-SovietRussia perspective.

                In December 2012 the US Congress passed and the President signed Permanent Normal Trade Relations status for Russia.  The members who debated against it were ridiculed for their obsolete cold-war mentality. Hard to believe that was only 19 months ago but the Congressional Record transcripts don't lie. In 2010, Obama met with Pres. Medvedev in Prague to sign the New START Treaty which Congress ratified.

                When Putin was reelected in 2012 there were huge protest demonstrations in Moscow and violent clashes with police. HRW's Tanya Lokshina wrote about the excessive crackdown today. The last of the protesters was sentenced last week.

                In the post-Soviet era, Ukraine had a series of extremely corrupt leaders, each outdoing the last. The average annual income is still under the 1989 high water mark. Russia cut natural gas supplies on Jan 1 2009 and accused Ukraine of siphoning. I don't think anyone in the EU expected Ukraine to ever meet the requirements for accession. When the outside layer is peeled back, there's vicious mob activity that has no place in the rules and regulations world of the EU.  

                Maidan began the same day Yanukovych backed out of the EU Affiliation Agreement last November. Three months later, Feb 20 2014, was the first time that the users of this site posted 10 or more diaries on Ukraine.  Very few know anything about events prior to that date.

                By coincidence, Feb 20 2014 was also the first date that Stephen Cohen appeared in the US media with a strange tale about an Obama-backed neo-fascist coup in Kyiv. (Cohen is an academic who teaches where I got my degree and he's married to a semi-well-known media pundit who edits The Nation.) The fact is the German, French, and Polish Foreign Ministers were in Kyiv on that date to meet with Vladimir Lukin from Russia, and Yanukovych, to negotiate a settlement agreement to end the crisis.

                77 protesters were killed on the street in Kyiv that day and hundreds more were wounded.

        •  Evidence? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          I said the US was backing fascists in Ukraine.
        •  Ok (0+ / 0-)

          US laws related to medicine etc. are sometimes stricter than European ones. TTIP will harmonize regulations, but not remove all standards. It is an opportunity to cement the transatlantic relationship.

          And the US is not backing fascists in Ukraine. The ultra-nationalists received a jaw-breaking 1% of the vote in the last election.

  •  No, but Russia can make the EU pay for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    limpidglass, fran1

    its alignments with US wishes.

    Russia has already announced higher energy prices for European countries.

    A Russian spokesman said the sanctions are "a thoughtless, irresponsible step" that by default will create higher energy prices in European countries.

    Banks of the European Union operating in Russia have to fear negative consequences as well. The sanctions are in violation with WTO regulations.

    In engaging in a "sanction orgy" Brussels creates deliberately its own hurdles for future cooperation in the energy sector", the Russian spokes person said.

    You are right that even the Green party in Germany doesn't seem to be very impressed by the Russian threats.  

    Bärbel Höhn, expert for the energy sector in the Greem Party, called the Russian threat "unrelaistic". "There are long delivery contract for the Russian gas distributions to Europe with fixed price indexes, which, if broken, would have to be brought to international courts, which is expensive to do. With regards to Oil, Russians can increase those prices for short time periods, and those can be overcome by alternative oil providers.

    So, everything okey-dokey, right?

    BTW I found it funny that the US media headlines said "US is following the EU leadership in implementing sanctions against Russia. A little nice try to throw sands into your eyes as to who was interested in "tough reactions" against Russia first.

    Yes, the EU and the US can make pay all of us the consequences of their "sanction orgy". But of course it's all a matter of making money for the 1%, no matter where they are located.

    Meanwhile, the US is gearing up to enter the field as a liquid natural gas exporter and Russia has no ability to compete because of the artificial price it needs to sustain itself. There isn’t a true global market for natural gas and Russia disguises its arbitrary pricing by linking it to the price of crude. When the US reaches the target capacity that meets demand in Japan, Korea, and the EU, it will supply liquid natural gas at a true market price lower than the level Russia needs for its own reasons.

    Japan signaled this week that it likes this idea very much by jumping on the sanctions bandwagon, too.

    We will see how nasty the reactions to sanctions will be and for whom. Nobody at the US or Russia really cares about who is suffering the consequences.

    We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

    by mimi on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 12:27:04 PM PDT

    •  Stupid decision (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      limpidglass, mimi, eightlivesleft

      Russia is not as isolated as the Western media want to make us believe. These sanctions might push the BRICS countries to move ahead much faster than planned. These sanctions are also a sign to other countries in the world that if you deal with the US and EU either you are brown nosing or you risk sanction - but both will appear as unreliable.

      Russia also stopped the import of fruit and vegetable and Turkey jumped in right away with overing to deal with Russia and also use their own currencies.

      This is only the beginning - I think the ones that will pay heavely are the EU countries and there of course most of all the average citizens, not the politicians and elites. And even if the sanctions would be turned back soon, I think Russia will not return as a partner. These sanctions have destroyed bridges build step by step over more than 25 years and they have been destroyed within weeks. It is an illusion of the the Western countries to believe that they are irreplacable for Russia, its probably more the other way.

      And last but not least Russia just signed a weapons deal with Iraq, yes you read right that IRAQ. The US mic won't be happy about that.

      And I full agree with your comment mimi.

      Read the European view at the European Tribune

      by fran1 on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 12:42:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  russia has destroyed the ties (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mark Lippman, charlatan

        By acting as a rogue state (waging economic warfare to keep other nations in its "sphere of influence", invading other nations and annexing parts of them, financing rebels etc). The EU's GDP is far larger than that of Russia. Putin has started a war he can only lose.

    •  Mimi - that article doesn't say that Russia (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, killjoy, charlatan

      already announced higher energy prices. It can't change the terms of an existing contract unilaterally. The article says that Russia threatened to raise prices which is something Russia does so often no one listens.

      I know how much everyone ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 's Der Spiegel. I read it like any other commercial media outlet. What it prints might be true, and it can be checked, which is what I do.

      But first, what do you suppose they'd think in China if they read this story after signing a long-term contract with Russia. Oh no, not this shit again, is what they'd think. The story illustrates why Russia has such a bad reputation and why it will be so easy for the US to compete.

      •  yeah, I know, I used the word "threatening" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mark Lippman

        inside the comment later on. Sorry for my lax formulation. I don't love "Der Spiegel", but it's usually the fastest and most detailed in online reporting for me to go there and check regularly.

        Yeah, everything for competition, that's all what counts, right ? Go US, compete. Win. Bravo. I think it's ... oh well, comments are not free, but my thoughts are, so just guess what I think.

        We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

        by mimi on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 01:40:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Putin, the EU, and the United States (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman, killjoy

    have their chess moves to make. Each has its strengths and weaknesses in the current situation. I believe that the Ukraine crisis can end with a negotiated solution at the bargaining table. Each side can get some concessions in exchange for an end to the conflict in Ukraine.

    It will be in the interests of all parties to horse trade and come to a resolution that results in the end to armed hostilities in Ukraine. Despite Putin's tendency to turn every international dispute into a "dick-swinging contest", even he will find it to his benefit to compromise.

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 12:48:38 PM PDT

    •  They already did the 4-party negotiation in Vienna (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sunbro, FG, charlatan

      around the middle of April. Everyone left with the impression that there was a deal. But in the following days Russia made it clear it had no intention of following through.

      That's part of the reason why the EU statement includes this bit:

      Since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, the European Union has been calling on the Russian leadership to work towards a peaceful resolution. We have done this collectively and bilaterally. We regret to say that despite some mixed messages coming from Moscow, and exchanges in the Normandy and other formats, there has been scarce delivery on commitments.
      The EU is considering re-opening the investigation of the 2010 crash of a Polish plane in Russia that killed Poland's president and his wife along with other dignitaries who were on their way home from a state visit.
  •  EU is Vulnerable, has No Will and does not care (0+ / 0-)

    Winter is not so far away and the EU will be in great need of Russian gas with no easy alternatives.

    Unemployment is too high in Europe for governments to refuse to sell products to Russia.

    As time goes by, Europe just adjusts to the idea of the Ukraine being part of the Russian sphere of influence.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 01:07:37 PM PDT

    •  Ukraine has the right to self-determination. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It is not a call for Europe outside Ukraine to make. Ukraine's own citizens do not want to be a sphere of Russia's influence, a part of Russia, or dominated by Russia.

      Ukraine itself should make that call, and no one else, especially Vladimir Putin.

      -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

      by sunbro on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 01:16:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That would also go for the US (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        if not for the US in the person of Vicki Nuland their would be no war and the Crimea would probanly still be part of the Ukraine.

        Yes the people in the Ukraine have a right for self determination, but this goes as well for the eastern Ukrainians and not only for those of the West. If Kiev would have talk to the federalist at the beginning of the crisis this war could have been avoided. Maybe the people in the East do not want to sell out to Bursima, Hunter Biden and the US.

        But in the end this is not about the Ukrainia, many commenters in Europe believe that the US is only using the Ukraine to create a pretext for a war with Russia. Because many believe the Sanctions will not be enough for the US. This is the perception and in hot situations like this perception is often more improtant thatn facts. So I would say It would be helpful for the EU and the US to stop interfering in the Ukraine and not only demand that from Russia.

        Read the European view at the European Tribune

        by fran1 on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 01:26:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  your comment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          "Many commenters in Europe believe that the US is only using the Ukraine to create a pretext for a war with Russia."
          After Bush and Cheney's lying and invasion of Iraq, who can blame them?

          But the fact of the matter is that Russia is interfering in Ukraine by supplying a bunch of foreign fighters, including Chechens, with heavy arms.

          Russia is the one who is interfering. The U.S. just wants them to back off, and without our sanctions and help with sanctions from Europe, that does not have a prayer of happening. Putin is bullying his way here, despite the fact that the vast majority in Ukraine want him to get the fuck out.

          -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

          by sunbro on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 01:30:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Excuse me (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            As far as I know Ukraine is part of Europe and not the US! So why is it important what the US wants in the Ukraine. You know the way some US senators and politicians behave in the Ukraine can be considered bullying too. And their are plenty of foreign fighters on the Kiev side too. Again if the US and Kiev had shown at least a little respect for the people in the East and Kiev had talked to them there would have been a more peaceful solution.

            And how do you know that a wast majoritiy wants them out. At least according to a Gallup Poll and Gallup is american, the eastern people to not like the current socalled Government that does not include any representatives from the East and now starts to prohibit political parties.

            I think the US should stay out!!! And maybe the talks in Minks between Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and hopefully with representatives of the East will bring some solutions. I see a change for solutions if the talks can be held without the interference of the US.

            Ok. this was my last comment  - time for bed.

            Read the European view at the European Tribune

            by fran1 on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 01:40:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  heh, don't let the wet dreams of the US (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              get in the way and let your sweet dreams to turn into nightmares. You need your sleep and rest and be ready for "tough times to come".

              Good Night.

              We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

              by mimi on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 01:52:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Just 15 percent in Eastern Ukraine want to join (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bananapouch1, Mark Lippman, charlatan

              with Russia.

              Moreover, I have friends and relatives in Ukraine, and they are extremely unhappy with Putin's interference in their country. My heart cries for for them every day, and I want very few things more than for Putin to exit his proxies and weaponry from Ukraine.

              -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

              by sunbro on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 01:53:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The UN High Commission for Human Rights (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bananapouch1, sunbro, killjoy, charlatan

              issued a report this week:

              Armed groups supporting the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic:”
              Illegal acts committed by the armed groups include abductions, detentions, torture, murder, executions, extortion, and destruction of property.

              At least 1,000 people have died from mid-April until 15 July.

              717 people have been abducted by armed groups in eastern Ukraine. These included: 46 journalists, 112 police officers, 26 representatives of the OSCE, 22 deputies, members of political parties and heads of district (town) councils, 5 employees of the prosecution office, 2 lawyers, 2 judges, 1 employee of the penitentiary service and 481 other people (including 392 girls and women). The armed groups also detained 91 servicemen and border guards as well as 4 Security Service officers. 437 people were released. The whereabouts of 375 people remains unknown.

              86,609 internally displaced persons, 15% of them are from Crimea

              IDPs from Crimea are mostly Tatars, but also include ethnic Ukrainians, ethnic Russians, mixed families, refugees and foreigners married to Ukrainians citizens. Many IDPs from Crimea are political activists and journalists who fear harassment.

              The situation of people living with HIV/AIDS [in Crimea] is difficult due to the differences in the approved schemes for HIV treatment in Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

              In the east, attempts at manipulation of the media have been especially egregious. Many journalists previously working in the east have already fled after being abducted, harassed, intimidated or otherwise threatened. Those that remain in Luhansk have been instructed by the armed groups on how they should report the news. Words such as ‘separatist’ and ‘terrorist’ should not be used, they were told, and each Monday there would be a meeting with the editors of local media to instruct them on what to cover and how. Media outlets were threatened that if they did not cover the activities of the armed groups positively, their equipment would be destroyed and employees put in danger. In Donetsk, all media outlets are required to register with the armed groups’

            •  The respect the people of East Ukraine (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mark Lippman

              showed other Ukrainians was electing Yanukovich.   You remember, that guy who stole $10 billion straight out of the Ukrainian Treasury every year for himself and his buddies for four years?  Who had journalists and demonstrators killed?  And they were going to reelect him.

              The uprising in the east instigated and run by Russia/Putin has managed to thoroughly burn out support for affiliation with Russia among ethnic Russian and ethnic Ukrainians at a remarkably fast rate.  It's been a very effective war- in getting Ukrainians of all kinds to reject Russia's political culture, Putinism, and the rest of it.

              Putin has, interestingly, done the semi-impossible: breaking up ethnic Russian tribal solidarity.  

              This matter is turning into a remarkably comprehensive defeat for Putin/Putinism.  I'm reminded of George W. Bush, who did was exceeding popular domestically but in the fulfillment led support for him to fall off drastically.  That's how politics of resentments works- do the spiteful thing that public resentment demands, then suffer the failure of that to achieve anything productive and the popular anger dissipates.  The end result is mostly a bunch of dead people, a lot of physical wreckage, and embarrassment.

              Dubya exploited but eventually ran out of popular resentments and fears to tap into.  Putin suffers from the same danger- in doing all the shameful things his supporters want him to do, pretty much only shameful and unworthy results are achieved.  But an old world's and older generation's rage is sated; and after that they have nothing left to offer or demand.  Countries need politicians of the kind too; they're just finally not proud of these politicians or themselves for having elected them to do such dirty work.

              Anyway, the WSJ says today that Kremlin advisors and officials are privately shocked at just how costly and disastrous this meddling in Ukraine has become for them.  They're seriously worried that public sentiment in Russia is maturing in the direction of regarding a Maidan-like uprising in Moscow and toppling of Putin's crowd as a plausible option for dealing with the inadequacy of Putin-identified government.  If Ukrainians can take out the trash which ruled them, so can Russians.

              •  May 2012. Bolotnaya Square riots in Moscow on (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                the eve of Putin's inauguration for his current term. Protesters demonstrated against the rigged election and it turned into an epic battle with the police. The last of the individuals who were tried in court was sentenced about a week ago - 4 1/2 years hard labor.

                A few years ago there were mass protests in Minsk. If Russians see that their little brothers in Ukraine can rebel and find their way to a western-style democracy they could get ideas.

        •  Nonsense (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mark Lippman, sunbro, killjoy, charlatan

          if not for the US in the person of Vicki Nuland their would be no war and the Crimea would probanly still be part of the Ukraine.

          The Ukrainian crisis started last year, when the Yanukovych government was preparing an association agreement with the EU, and Russia responded with economic warfare. It is a crisis started and maintained by Russia in all aspects (that includes the illegal annexation of Crimea and the constant support of the "separatists" in Ukraine). If not for Putin, Ukraine would be at peace.

          It is little more than a conspiracy theory to believe that the US secretly wants a war with Russia. Such a war could involve the use of nuclear weapons, which both sides avoided strenuously even at the height of the Cold War era. I can't imagine that the semi-isolationist President Obama would want a nuclear war.

    •  Russia needs to sell natural gas or it sinks./ (0+ / 0-)
      •  it's their decision to sink or not to sink (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and shouldn't be of any concern to the US.

        We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

        by mimi on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 01:52:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Russia can just significantly raise the price if (0+ / 0-)

          EU tries significant sanctions against Russia.  It makes no sense to cut off supplies.  

          So if the EU tries to hurt Russia, it will be the equivalent of EU using its nose, to smash Russia's fist.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 02:05:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What I meant is interruption of delivery is (0+ / 0-)

          very unlikely, not that I'm concerned. Russia cut off the supply in 2009 and it was disastrous. It won't do that again.  Here's the picture that was taken during the negotiations. Don't they look happy together?

          Yulia Tymoshenko and Vladimir Putin
          •  You know, I am really relieved to listen (0+ / 0-)

            to my German former employer's coverage of the EU-US sanctions and the potential impact on Russia, Germany and the US. I don't have to read here.

            No comment to the photo.

            We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

            by mimi on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 02:44:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I think this article is a bit more balanced (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman

    We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

    by mimi on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 02:22:15 PM PDT

  •  All these cold warriors (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    limpidglass, eightlivesleft, fran1

    The USA goes into Iraq with shock and awe.  We tell Qaddaffi that he must go and Libya is plunged into chaos.

    We go into Syria in support of ISIS and now look what a mess we made there.

    And then we send billions to Israel and look what happens.

    And then Russia goes into the Crimea, a territory that has been part of RUssia for hundreds of years, without firing a shot,  and killing a soul and we condemn Russia.

    Sure makes sense to me.  NOT.

    •  OSCE Human Rights Assessment / Ukraine (0+ / 0-)

      Reshat Ametov, a Crimean Tatar, reportedly left home in Simferopol at approximately 7:30 a.m. on 3 March 2014. He reportedly went to Lenin Square in Simferopol and stood in front of the building of the Council of Ministers, where a number of unidentified men in uniform were stationed, guarding the building. He was filmed at that location by the local television channel ART. Beginning at 9 a.m., he was seen, and filmed, standing in front of the building for more than one hour, apparently conducting a one-man protest. Ametov disappeared, reportedly after having been taken away by a small group of uniformed individuals at approximately 10:09 a.m. ART video footage examined by the HRAM is consistent with these reports.177
      109. On the following day, the victim’s family reported him as missing to the local police . . .
      Ametov’s body was reportedly found on 15 March, and he was identified by his family on 17 March. He reportedly died as a result of a deep piercing wound in the region of one of his eyes. Other wounds also found on his body are reportedly consistent with ill-treatment.

      Reported victims of abductions or enforced disappearances in Crimea have mainly included pro-Maidan activists and, in some cases, journalists. While in custody, one of the men was reportedly severely beaten and injured with a knife. Moreover, electricity was used to inflict pain on him, in what has been described as an “electric chair” in testimonies collected by the HRAM.

      •  What is your point? (0+ / 0-)

        One person was killed when Russia took over the Crimea?

        Let me grant it, though I have no idea one way or other, it sure was much better than shock and awe.

      •  if similar atrocities in ethnic and tribal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        conflicts in an African nations like let's say Nigeria or Ivory Coast would have occurred,, at least in the past, neither the US, nor Europe, no Russia cared about it and didn't use it to support their own different policy viewpoints. May be that changes these days, but it remains to be seen.

        I don't think that anybody is so naïve to believe that all the evil-doers are just on one side, either on the Russian separatist's side or only on Ukrainian svoboda side. Nevertheless this is an internal ethnic conflict with the Ukraine and it should not be used to create a world-wide conflict, imo.

        The way how US experts argue over who is more responsible for the atrocities Kyiv’s Atrocities? A More Nuanced Look at the Ukraine Crisis and here: The Silence of American Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities will not lead to anything productive.

        It will enhance the polarization between those, who believe the Ukrainian government side and those, who believe the Ukrainian separatist's side.  Have you ever seen a tribal/ethnic conflict with only angels on both sides? I think to believe that you have brutal violence on both sides is closer to the realities.

        We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

        by mimi on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 05:44:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And what about these findings? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

        by mimi on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 06:29:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I used official reports from the UNHCR and OSCE. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mimi, killjoy

          Everything they report has a footnote to identify the evidence that was collected in case it needs to be introduced in a court of law.

          In the article at your link, footnote #4 leads right back to the same article. It took me nowhere. The writer's point is illogical from the start and the bogus foot note provides no substantiation. (I have a Journalism degree - woohooo!)

          Victoria Nuland did not select Yanukovych's replacement and this is a very sloppy error on the writer's part. The interim President was Oleksandr Turchynov who was never mentioned in the intercepted taped conversation. She mentioned Yatsenyuk who was appointed as interim Prime Minister, not President. The professional standard demands accuracy from writers who want credibility.

          I wrote about Nuland's tape the day the news came out. You have to listen to the whole conversation and you have to know that there was no Prime Minister because he resigned. Yanukovych offered the job to Yats but he refused to even respond. The offer was covered by the BBC.

          Yatsenyuk was a member of Parliament and the leader of the largest opposition party. Under the parliamentary system, if Yanukovych wanted a coalition, the PM post had to go to Yatsenyuk. If he declined, the next two choices would have been Klitschko and Tyanybok, the MPs who led the #2 and #3 largest opposition parties.

          Nuland didn't wave a wand and conjure these 3 guys out of a hat. They were the obligatory choices and the BBC spelled it out. Nuland was doing what State Dept people do. None of this was a clandestine secret. Kerry and Nuland met with the Big 3 openly in Munich about 4 days after the BBC article was published and a couple of days before the intercepted tape was released.

          In the rest of the conversation Nuland talks about Ban Ki Moon coming to Kyiv to talk to Yats so if there was a coup plot, he was in on it. The frickin Secretary General of the UN. You'd think someone would have asked him about it by now.

          It was Stephen Cohen who fabricated this tale and it burns me up because he teaches where I got my Journalism degree. He knows perfectly well that he's making a fool of the public - people who lack the knowledge to know better. That makes him louse and I'm on a mission to get him fired. It's unethical for someone in his position to knowingly distribute false information to deceive the voting public.

          •  wow, now you got me ... will try to (0+ / 0-)

            research that now by myself. Obviously I can't respond to your comment, as I don't know any of those details.

            So, thank you for your response.  

            We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

            by mimi on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 01:57:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

      We're giving our worldwide military presence, and overbearing security state, new reasons to continue.  Even to expand.  It's needless, because we don't have national interests at stake in Ukraine.  And we can't afford another cold war, or any more wars.

      A terrible beauty is born. --W.B. Yeats

      by eightlivesleft on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 03:51:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Lots of post hoc fallacy (0+ / 0-)


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