Recently I've engaged in debates with some folks about the ongoing situation in Ukraine. During those debates some people have implied that in order to have a clear understanding about the geopolitical conflict in Ukraine, one most not rely on one-sided sources of information.
I agree. I'm actually a New York Times subscriber, and I also frequent other news site like The Financial Times, The Economist, Bloomberg, The Los Angeles Times, and The San Francisco Chronicle, among many others.
But here's the interesting thing I often notice when I visit mainstream news sources: I'm getting incomplete, one-sided information, for the most part.
Case in point... Tonight I read a few articles in The New York Times: U.S. Hopes Boom in Natural Gas Can Curb Putin, U.S. Effort to Broker Russia-Ukraine Diplomacy Fails, Debate Over Who, in U.S., Is to Blame for Ukraine, For Russian TV Channels, Influence and Criticism, Point by Point, State Department Rebuts Putin on Ukraine, One Goal in Hand, Kiev’s Demonstrators Vow to Stay ‘Until the End’, Mystery Men at De Facto Crimean Border Help Fuel Suspicion and Dread.
Of those articles, only one made mention (with timidity and in passing) of extreme right-wing element within the protest movement:
The sotni formed in the tradition of western Ukraine’s World War II-era guerrillas, men who fought for Ukrainian independence even after the war, fighting the Soviets well into the 1950s. Some of the groups are nationalistic to the point of being ultra-right-wing. Among them, at least on the margins, are factions that many fellow Ukrainians regard as anti-Semitic and reactionary, including Right Sector, which commands Sotnya No. 23.And I get it... Putin is kind of a dictator and Russia can be a bully and homophobic and friendly to pro-Putin oligarchs, and all that.
But there is more to the story when it comes to the conflict in Ukraine, and my perception is that the mainstream media narrative is the one that's one-sided, incomplete, and therefore, it misinforms.
Of course, I also read alternative news media such as Democracy Now!, AlterNet, truth-out, truth-dig, and others, and for some weird reason I find their coverage more nuanced and well-rounded. But here I'm not going to reference them because (for some reason) some people tend to discount them out of hand.
So instead I'll reference an article at The Guardian, by Seumas Milne: "The clash in Crimea is the fruit of western expansion - The external struggle to dominate Ukraine has put fascists in power and brought the country to the brink of conflict":
Diplomatic pronouncements are renowned for hypocrisy and double standards. But western denunciations of Russian intervention in Crimea have reached new depths of self parody. The so far bloodless incursion is an "incredible act of aggression", US secretary of state John Kerry declared. In the 21st century you just don't invade countries on a "completely trumped-up pretext", he insisted, as US allies agreed that it had been an unacceptable breach of international law, for which there will be "costs".So you see, there is more to the story; it's more complicated, more nuanced than just saying that Putin is "crazy," which is a meme/talking point spreading throughout the mainstream media like wildfire. And the irony... It seems like Western intervention helped precipitate a coup d'etat in Ukraine, helping fascist and neo-nazi elements become part of the new government coalition (along with a new set of oligarchs).
That the states which launched the greatest act of unprovoked aggression in modern history on a trumped-up pretext – against Iraq, in an illegal war now estimated to have killed 500,000, along with the invasion of Afghanistan, bloody regime change in Libya, and the killing of thousands in drone attacks on Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, all without UN authorisation – should make such claims is beyond absurdity.
Fascist gangs now patrol the streets. But they are also in Kiev's corridors of power. The far right Svoboda party, whose leader has denounced the "criminal activities" of "organised Jewry" and which was condemned by the European parliament for its "racist and antisemitic views", has five ministerial posts in the new government, including deputy prime minister and prosecutor general. The leader of the even more extreme Right Sector, at the heart of the street violence, is now Ukraine's deputy national security chief.
Neo-Nazis in office is a first in post-war Europe. But this is the unelected government now backed by the US and EU. And in a contemptuous rebuff to the ordinary Ukrainians who protested against corruption and hoped for real change, the new administration has appointed two billionaire oligarchs – one who runs his business from Switzerland – to be the new governors of the eastern cities of Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk. Meanwhile, the IMF is preparing an eye-watering austerity plan for the tanking Ukrainian economy which can only swell poverty and unemployment.
[The emphasis is mine]
An yet our shoe-in possible presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton makes a pronouncement comparing Putin to Hitler: "Hillary Clinton’s Putin-Hitler comments draw rebukes as she wades into Ukraine conflict."
Hillary Rodham Clinton has sparked a political uproar this week by wading into the middle of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, likening the moves of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the actions of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler leading up to World War II.I don't know about you, but I find this stuff is kind of embarrassing, actually. Do these folks (our leaders) know what they're doing?
The former secretary of state’s provocative comparison drew swift rebukes Wednesday from U.S.-Russia policy experts — including some who served under her husband, former president Bill Clinton — while attracting rare notes of support from hawkish Republicans in Congress.
The comments put Clinton, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, at odds with President Obama and her former administration colleagues, who have been measured in their statements on Ukraine in hopes of avoiding an escalation of Putin’s incursion into Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula
That's a serious question because when they don't, when they make mistakes, it is usually us, regular folks who end up paying for them.