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This is sure to make conservatives swoon:
President Vladimir V. Putin claimed Crimea as a part of Russia on Tuesday, reversing what he described as a historical mistake made by the Soviet Union 60 years ago and brushing aside international condemnation that could leave Russia deeply isolated for years to come. [...]

The events unfolded two days after Crimeans voted in a disputed referendum to break away from Ukraine.

That would be the referendum where 96.8 percent of the people allegedly voted to join Team Vlad (you'd need to go to North Korea for a more sweeping mandate).

What will be the result of this blatant land grab? Presumably more sanctions, condemnations and international pressure from the adults in the room. Closer to home? Probably more starry-eyed praise of their favorite ex-KGB bear wrestler. Stay tuned.

Originally posted to Barbara Morrill on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is not ending well for anyone. (23+ / 0-)

    Not Putin, not Ukraine, not us, and certainly not the Crimeans - especially the Tatars.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:24:07 AM PDT

    •  But it's good news for John McCain (10+ / 0-)

      It's always good news for the Republicans, who govern, even when in the minority, as though they have a 96.8% mandate.

    •  Not Putin? (6+ / 0-)

      He gets to assuage the ultra-nationalists and guarantees a warm water port. Doesn't seem like he loses much at all. Sure, there's some "reputation" lost, but he gains reputation elsewhere and in different ways.

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

      by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:05:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you realize (10+ / 0-)

        how badly it's going to punch Russia in the dick when the EU and US basically cut Russia off from the world economy? A process which has already begun?

        He may gain personal prestige with the ultranationalist wing in Russia, but that'll be cold comfort in exchange for setting them back 40 years in terms of economy and diplomacy.

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:32:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And this is a bit like restricting iron ore etc. (5+ / 0-)

          from Japan, which caused them to bomb us.

          I don't think that this might happen in a proportional way, but rats caught in a trap will bite.

          Ugh. --UB.

          Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

          by unclebucky on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:51:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Definitely possible. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ArthurPoet, david78209

            More's the worry.

            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

            by raptavio on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:03:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  We can't actually restrict anything that's vital (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            to Russia. Sure, we can pull money from their economy, but they have massive stores of natural resources, more than the US in many cases. They have no reason to go to war.

            Also, the US was providing military aid to people Japan was fighting in addition to the other ways the US was in conflict with Japan at the time. There's really no comparison.

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

            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:08:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Especially if they can't get their... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...knockoff Levis and fake versace shirts.

            So endith the trick.

            by itsjim on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:09:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Lots of room to maneuver before that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            If the Allies are cutting off Russia from the global economy, then they've already swallowed the bullet on a host of other issues: Iran, nuclear non-proliferation, natural gas for starters.

        •  "punch Russia" (4+ / 0-)

          Not Putin.

          Putin will secure his position through this. The isolation and attacks by other countries will strengthen Putin. You're speaking as if Russia is the same as Putin, it is not. Russia will likely be hurt in some ways, but I'd bet closer trade relations with China will more than make up for the trade hit from the rest of the world. And there aren't going to be serious trade sanctions. Plus everyone wants the oil there, no MNC is going to pull out of all that money.

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

          by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:56:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not even China (7+ / 0-)

            is down with Russia's actions in Crimea, you know.

            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

            by raptavio on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:03:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And they will change nothing about their (3+ / 0-)

              relations with Russia because of them.

              Whether China agrees or supports the actions is different than what they'll do about them.

              And hey, now that there's sanctions on Russia how long do you think Russia is going to continue to support sanctions on Iran? Especially when it will benefit China to have those sanctions removed.

              I just don't see this massive blow back that everyone keeps talking abut happening. Sure, it won't be great for Russia, but Putin isn't going to lose a minute of sleep over it.

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

              by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:18:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I just don't see an upside for Putin. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT, Gurnt, fcvaguy

                It's not like he needed to consolidate his leadership in Russia, it seemed to have been pretty secure.

                The only real effect is diminishment of Russia on the world stage, which seems to reduce Putin's overall power.

                "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                by raptavio on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:42:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If Ukraine ended up as a whole (3+ / 0-)

                  and aligned with NATO it would be a pretty big blow to Putin's hegemony. It'd be roughly like Mexico joining up with Cuba and Venezuela. The more NATO and the EU encroach on Russia the more his power becomes at risk.

                  And again, I don't see this diminishing Russia's power on the international stage in any significant way. Russia had no power over the EU ad the US, and those are the only places that will really react to this.

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

                  by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:53:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You wouldn't think Russia had no power (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    over the EU and US the way some pols and pundits have been talking.

                    I guess we'll see what happens, and who'll be proven right.

                    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                    by raptavio on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:59:31 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I expect a slow drift economically (4+ / 0-)

                      But in some ways that was already happening. All of the hair on fire everything is going to get cut off immediately and we're going to war talk seems a bit much.

                      This is just another aspect of the realignment of the world around the reduction of american power internationally. China isn't really concerned about this, neither is India. None of the up and coming countries are, and that's what Russia is concerned about internationally. Not the US.

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

                      by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:37:13 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  The direction of Ukraine seems all but certain now (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sharon Wraight, rduran

                    The only way it can protect what remains of its sovereignty is to throw itself into the arms of the EU and NATO.

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

                    by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:05:28 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Which is where it was headed ayway (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Eyesbright, david78209, rduran

                      By all accounts I've read.

                      Wasn't that the whole point of overthrowing the government? Because joining the Euro got taken off the table. Or at least why the protests happened.

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

                      by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:09:28 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Not even China will stand up with Russia (0+ / 0-)

              It's an open question as to whether or not they're down with it, or how far the Administration can bring Beijing along.  Beyond the abstention, nothing has changed in the Russian-Chinese bilateral relationship.

          •  I actually suspect (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, fcvaguy

            that Putin pissed off China with his "thanking them for their support" game. They've been very clearly trying to just stay out of it. He just prevented them from being able to politely do so in the future.

            •  If he has pissed them off (0+ / 0-)

              They've given no indication of it.  Nor is there any indication Moscow is terribly broken up about China's non-commitment.  I'd be very careful about reading too much into singular diplomatic events.

          •  Like Putin needed to secure his position. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ER Doc

            The guy controlled the govt even when he was not the president or whatever they call the king of Russia these days.  He could have gained world respect thru diplomacy and got close to the same he got thru thuggery.  He chose a display of raw power instead.  This does not bode well for the world.

            "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

            by Publius2008 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:37:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Stalin doesn't need friends; he needs enemies." (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I think Churchill said that during World War II.  It was true, in the sense that Uncle Joe needed bogeymen as an excuse for his next purge, to keep control.  
            Putin isn't Stalin, but the same dynamic probably applies.  

            We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

            by david78209 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:05:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, Putin is basically telling us, (9+ / 0-)

          "Good luck with that."

          Given how difficult being cut off has been for Iran's political leadership -- not -- I really don't see Putin, who is in charge of a vast, self-sufficient economy, getting too worried about being "cut off from the world economy."

          He's probably figuring, two years, tops, and the world will be back begging for his oil, gas, and investment opportunities.  And he's probably right.

          USSR is a net exporter.  It needs almost nothing from the outside world in terms of resources, and its only real benefit with being part of the global economy is that its 1% can play in America too.  

          There is zero strategic advantage for the US in our engagement with Russia over this issue short of direct military conflict.  Putin knows this, and Obama knows this too.  It's a check mate.

        •  Sanctions won't last (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Judgment at Nuremberg

          Russia has too much oil and natural gas that the rest of the world, particularly Europe, needs. Germany is already starting to back down from sanctions because they need that natural gas.

        •  That remains to be seen rap (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          raptavio, AoT

          Although, the EU could certainly make Russia hurt. 15% of Russia's trade is with the EU. However only 1% of the EU's trade is with Russia.

          I've said many times, and this comes from my experience in and around London. Cut off the Russian visas to London, Paris and New York. The oligarchs will absolutely howl.

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

          by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:03:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  How are they going to do that? (0+ / 0-)

          I'm assuming the EU and the US still want Russia as a partner on a wide variety of matters ranging from Iran to natural gas to nuclear nonproliferation.  

          On the sanctions front, I have serious doubts that it will go much farther beyond the limited, targeted form just applied.  That may expand, but it's an open question as to whether the Allies will come together behind general punitive action.  The next steps may very well be military assistance to Ukraine and other vulnerable former Soviet states in an effort to significantly raise the cost of any future attempt fait accompli.  Question is, though, how much Putin is willing and able to grab before that effort can have an effect.

      •  Russia has warm water ports...and better (1+ / 2-)
        Recommended by:
        Hidden by:
        Judgment at Nuremberg, cville townie

        ones at that. What good is a warm water port in a tiny sea when you have a NATO ally guarding the Bosporus.

        But continue to be an apologist for the tyrant Putin, AoT. You're pretty good at it.

        "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

        by JWK on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:48:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Psst (6+ / 0-)

          AoT isn't a "Putin apologist."

          Just saying.

          Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

          by felix19 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:34:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There are plenty of Putin apologists here (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eyesbright, AoT, cville townie, raptavio

          AoT isn't one of them.

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

          by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:07:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Traffic thru the Bosporus (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, cville townie, raptavio, rduran

          . . . is regulated by the 1936 Montreux Convention.

          That said, it isn't really hard to understand why Crimea is of such strategic & emotional importance to the Russians. And it isn't hard to understand why the Russian government would be alarmed by the political developments in Kiev.

          That's not to say that the invasion & presumable annexation of Crimea by Russia are morally or legally defensible, or even a wise move. But look at it this way: if the U.S. were to see something like the events of the last 2 months in Ukraine play out in Panama, there's no doubt that the U.S. would act in the same way, & that the U.S. would simply brush off any criticism from the rest of the world.

          Trying to understand this from the Russian perspective is not acting as a "Putin apologist". But it's essential if we're to find a way to de-escalate this crisis.

        •  Debating whether something will end well (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          for Putin equals being an apologist for a tyrant?

          The first part of your comment joined in the debate. The second part is personal jabbing and signs of a bad debater.

          Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort. - Voltaire
          Don't trust anyone over 84414 - BentLiberal

          by BentLiberal on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:53:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The fuck, man. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

          by raptavio on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:04:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think calling AoT an apologist for Putin is (0+ / 0-)

          uncalled for, but not HRable.  And the point about "warm water ports" needs to be made as often as possible; it's one of the more persistent geopolitical myths out there.  This isn't 17th century Tsarist Russia, and what passes for year round navigable in the 21st century bears little relationship to what it did three and half centuries ago.

      •  By his own speech today (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, Eyesbright, raptavio

        He said this was about an error committed 60 years ago (when Kruschev gave Crimea to Ukraine). At least he was honest about that.

        But, you're right. He scored big with his ultra-nationalist supporters.

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

        by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:01:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  96.8%? (7+ / 0-)

    All this time I thought Saddam Hussein was dead, and instead he's running elections in Crimea.

    Good thing W isn't around for more "shock & awe".

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

    by bear83 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:26:07 AM PDT

    •  It's a shame no one's called on W to tell us more (8+ / 0-)

      about the soul of Pooty Poot.

    •  I know my family in Crimea, were more than (7+ / 0-)

      happy to rejoin Russia as opposed to staying with Ukraine.  

      •  I'm betting that the folks in Crimea.... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, duhban, felix19

        ....will be well taken care of, at least for the short term, so as to woo the Ukranians back into the fold too.

        I'm really pissed off this time

        by suspiciousmind on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:31:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Are any of them gay? (10+ / 0-)

        Or do any belong to an ethnic minority?

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

        by Lawrence on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:40:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Personally (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          duhban, bear83, fcvaguy, Lawrence, Eyesbright

          if queer little me lived anywhere in Crimea or Eastern Ukraine, I'd say this is time to seriously consider whether to GTFO.

          I don't know a ton about any number of things involved in a lot of this, but I do know what that particular violence looks like, and it's very ugly. The hardcore anti-gay bunch in Russia is extreme and its leadership condones and encourages mass violence.

          Anybody on the left who would like to shrug at Putin and the nationalist/super Orthodox Russian crowd would do well to keep that in mind. It doesn't provide an answer of what we should or shouldn't do, but it ain't trivial, and I'm sure it ain't trivial for any number of relative ethnic minorities, either. The likely consequences for a large number of people are no good.

          •  Ukraine in general is pretty bad (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            in regards to LGBT rights and violence. Not to the level of Russia for sure, but I don't think I'd want to live there given the various problems.

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

            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:23:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  To say the least. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Judgment at Nuremberg

              The idea that somehow Ukraine welcomes the LGBT community is... absurd.

              Not to put too fine a point on it...

              Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

              by felix19 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:37:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Welcomes? No. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                The level of violence that has been building in Russia in particular is really noteworthy, I've been watching it unfold for a lot of years now.

                And while there are certainly parties --  many -- in Ukraine that don't have any love for LGBT folks either, no, I haven't been watching the same trajectory right in the open for the last ~5 years or a bit more.

            •  Understood and I overall agree. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT, Lawrence

              But while there have also certainly been worrisome events in Ukraine over the past couple of years, the trajectory in Russia has been really, really bad.

              And has been directly linked, so far as I can tell, with the same serious nationalists and so on that are sort of center stage in Russian politics during this particular set of events. They have built up a lot of political power in Russia over the last years, and their actions are legitimized.

              •  And that's very much what is going on in (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Judgment at Nuremberg


                It doesn't look to me like Yatsenyuk and his crew is doing much to curb it, either.

                Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

                by felix19 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:54:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yatsenyuk (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT, Judgment at Nuremberg, Lawrence

                  hasn't had much time to curb much of anything and is now facing a whole lot of mess, so I'm not sure there's much evidence to support any assertion that he either would or wouldn't.

                  Ukraine certainly was heading the same direction on and off, including its government, but making it equivalent to what's been going on longer in Russia and within its political structure in particular is IMO not realistic.

                  This has been on my radar for a whole lot longer than this conflict. I have many friends from both countries, queer and straight. I live in a place with many Russian immigrants, from many various ends of its culture and with many different positions. The position of LGBT folks in Russia, Ukraine, other parts of Eastern Europe, etc. has been a fairly noteworthy local issue here, and a very complicated one, in addition to being noticed more recently as an international issue.  

                  •  Thanks for your take on the issue n/t (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Spit, Lawrence

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

                    by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:42:48 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  It's a matter of priorities (0+ / 0-)

                    And clearly, minority rights are not a priority for Yatsenyuk and his people.

                    If protecting minority rights had been a priority from the outset -- and it clearly wasn't -- it's at least conceivable that the current regime wouldn't be facing the mess it faces now.

                    Yatsenyuk has plenty of time to fly to the US and meet at the White House, he has time to meet with American officials in Kiev, he has time to treat with the EU and the IMF and NATO, he has lots of time for rallies and TV appearances at home.

                    It's not just about LGBT people, in other words.

                    It's a far broader issue, and given Ukraine's somewhat intolerant and unfortunate history, unless somebody step up -- fast -- the situation for designated outcast minorities in Ukraine could get very ugly indeed.

                    Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

                    by felix19 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:56:21 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  There have been numerous reports (5+ / 0-)

                from leftist groups about their fear of openly advocating for leftist ideals during the "revolution" once the fascists got involved. That is where I'm coming from. But it's definitely more up in the air.

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

                by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:42:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That would also be unsurprising, IMO (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  felix19, AoT, Lawrence, schnecke21

                  There's a lot going on here at once, and the protests came to involve strange alliances that cannot hold in the longer term. Even absent all of this conflict with Russia, the new government in Ukraine would have had to hammer out some serious issues, and none of us can claim to have a crystal ball that tells us which factions would have come out on top over a little more time.

                  I don't think there's much way to know from here where it was headed culturally or even politically for LGBT folks in particular. Certainly they're low on the priority list right now for a lot of folks, even who are otherwise loosely supportive. Which is often time to GTFO unless you're pretty willing to accept that you may die trying. Of course, being queer is a wee special, as minority status goes, because if we flee, we can't take "our" kids with us.

                  I actually had to have these thoughts myself somewhere around, oh, 2003. It's not easy to figure out that line.

                  None of it was friendly, but this is dangerous in a much more immediate sense for a lot of people. Not only queer ones, either -- today is also a funeral for a Crimean Tatar man who was led away from a recent protest in Crimea, by men in uniform, and turned up dead.  

                  No political side here lacks some blood on its hands, but when even potential support is distracted on this level, it's good reason to be really on edge regardless.

            •  and if Ukraine joins the EU (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sharon Wraight

              they will have to abide by the EU Human Rights charter.

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

              by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:08:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  You need to understand that many people (0+ / 0-)

          in the former USSR countries are not only homophobic but deeply suspicious of everyone who isn't them, that pretty much runs the gammet of "minority".  I have found to my own dismay that many of them don't like old people and consider them a drag on the economy.  

          It isn't about you.  

          •  It is about somebody, though. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            importer, felix19, Lawrence

            A lot of somebodies.

            Who are at a lot more risk today than they were even a month ago, not that things were all rainbows and unicorns then.

            •  Yes, it is. The Neo-Nazis, if they gain the (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              al23, Judgment at Nuremberg, felix19

              upper hand are quite comfortable with "purifying" the population.  The Bandera's take their name from an ultra-Ukrainian nationalist whose tactics were sometimes too much for the Nazis, so we could look forward to WWII.2 played out there.  

              •  Dude, Putin is basically unleashing Neo-Nazis (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                and national chauvinist Cossacks and you're worried about a minority faction in Kiev?  Russia has declared open season on gays and dissenters and is ethnically cleansing minorities and you're worried about Kiev?

                That makes no sense.

                If Ukraine becomes part of Europe, it is going to have to have strong human rights legislation.  That is part of what being part of the E.U. means.  Russia, on the other hand, not so much.

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

                by Lawrence on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:27:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not defending the actions in either country, (0+ / 0-)

                  but many people here don't seem to understand that Ukraine is made up of different groups and we seem to be backing the worst of the lot.

                  •  No. "We", ie. the West, is generally backing (0+ / 0-)

                    Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, whose parents are both Jewish, and Vitali Klitschko.

                    Neither of those are anywhere close to being Neo-Nazis.

                    And even ultranationalist factions like Svoboda aren't necessarily Neo-Nazis.

                    The guy Russia tried to install as self-proclaimed governor of Donetsk, Gubarev, definitely is a proven Neo-Nazi, though.

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

                    by Lawrence on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:52:18 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  And why ally themselves with a virtual (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        duhban, ArthurPoet, bear83, fcvaguy, Eyesbright

        dictator? A tyrant? A corrupt oligarchy?

        You'll excuse me if I don't think very highly of your family's opinion.

        My friends in Kyiv want to align themselves with the EU as a truly functioning democracy, out from under Russian puppeteer once and for all. To me that seems like a more promising, and inspiring goal for Ukrainians.

        "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

        by JWK on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:51:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So, the people taking over in Ukraine aren't (4+ / 0-)

          oligarchs or tyrants or neo-nazis?  There will be a shake out in Ukraine that won't be pretty.  The balance of power will shift to one group and there is no way of predicting how that is going to play out.  Ukraine could be ripped apart with civil war East against West.  

          We tend to support the worst of tyrants and oligarchs around the world in the name of Democracy - that don't make it democracy.

          Our track record since the CIA started meddling in the early 50's has been dismal and has lead to more bloodshed and hatred than we can even grasp.

          The blowback we are getting now started with the overthrow in Iran when we put Pahlevi in power! That was 80 years ago.  We just never stop.  

          Ukraine can join the EU, good luck with that, the IMF is already there promising money to the new guys while setting up Greek style austerity for the rest of the people.

          •  Yatsuniuk isn't an oligarch or (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sharon Wraight

            a tyrant or a neo-nazi. And he's interim. The parliament called for elections May 25th. Thats a very good sign. Maybe express your concerns when we see what kind of government takes place at that time.

            In the meantime, have you seen the composition of the Crimean government? And, have you looked closely at how that referendum came to be? Its really hard to look at Ukraine with a jaundiced eye, while ignoring the absolute corruption of what happened in Crimea.

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

            by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:26:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Since we are backing Yatsuniuk, a banker, (0+ / 0-)

              I have to assume he is another globalist hack.  

              People in Crimea and Ukraine have no illusions about any government.  They have been under the control of several over the years and have paid a heavy price.

              We sit here and snivel over 9-11, we still can't talk about it - it is just too painful.  We pee down our cumulative legs at the prospect of another terrorist attack.

              These people have been through hell this last century.  There were millions of people starved to death and more millions exiled or toted away to work camps or worse.  

              They know, first hand, how bad government can be and usually is, we are just finding out about bad government and we haven't even begun to pay the price.   We sit around and make assumptions about how people should act in these situations when we've never faced them ourselves.  

              •  Yes, confirmation bias (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sharon Wraight
                I have to assume he is another globalist hack.  
                I'm glad you empathize with the Ukrainian people. That's what I'm most interested in. And, I hope in the next election, they can turn the corner and become the country they want to be. They deserve it.

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

                by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:22:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  He's not a banker (0+ / 0-)

                  He's an economist trained at the central bank of Ukraine, which is a huge difference as far as I'm concerned. I couldn't find any references to him working at a bank, only in politics.

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

                  by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:19:23 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  you're right (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT, Sharon Wraight

                    But I'm not the one that claimed he was a banker.

                    importer wished it - that he is a banker and a globalist hack.

                    The most accurate way you can describe Yatsuniuk is that he's a technocrat - a very smart one - and not a politician. He's probably what Ukraine needs in this interim period.

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

                    by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:22:31 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Totally (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      Just wanted to make sure that was out there. It wasn't just presumptuous, it was wrong.

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

                      by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:26:05 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  He only TRAINED at the central bank, (0+ / 0-)

                      how wrong of me to suggest he was some sort of low-life banker, economists are much higher up the food chain.

                      “Recall the phone exchange between the Ukraine ambassador and Victoria Nuland (Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs) that got leaked out, where she basically said ‘we want Yats in there.’ They like him because he’s pro Western,” says Vladimir Signorelli, president of boutique investment research firm Bretton Woods Research LLC in New Jersey.

                      He is independently wealthy, so that makes him something of an olegarch, and definitely a globalist hack.  

                      Sorry about the grave error of calling him a banker.

                      •  is it really that difficult for you to admit (0+ / 0-)

                        you were wrong? The whole banker thing worked with your preferred narrative - USA, NGOs, CIA, coup, Nuland, IMF, go Putin !!

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

                        by fcvaguy on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:26:48 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I thought I just did............ (0+ / 0-)

                          I have no love for Vlad, I just get really tired of the rah, rah crowd around here that has no sense of history, geography or reality.  

                          I don't blame him(Vlad) for protecting his turf.  If we had KGB agents in Texas trying to overthrow Rick Perry(maybe not that bad an idea) we would be going ballistic, but we think Putin should just suck it up when we go in and stir up a big pot of crap on his border.  

                          We're still trying to overthrow Cuba after all these years.  Fidel has outlived them all and still runs the show, but we hang on to Guantanamo like a GD security blanket even though Cuba hasn't accepted lease payments since 1958.

              •  He's an economist, not a banker. (0+ / 0-)

                Trained by the national bank of Ukraine, which is the central bank of Ukraine. But he did not work for banks from what I can tell. If you have other information I would like to see it.

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

                by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:07:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yatsenyuk is "comfortable with bankers" (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  How's that?

                  He certainly won't stand in the way of the IMF or any other will he?

                  My impression is that he's primarily a wonk and technocrat, at ease with the various notions of Ukrainian austerity being floated.

                  From Forbes:

                  “He’s the type of guy who can hobnob with the European elite. A Mario Monti type: unelected and willing to do the IMFs bidding,” he [Signorelli] said.....

                  “Yatsenyuk was saying that what the Greeks did to themselves we are going to do ourselves,” said Signorelli. “He wants to follow the Greek economic model. Who the hell wants to follow that?”

                  They say Yatsenyuk is personally wealthy, but he's served mostly as a government apparatchik up till now.

                  Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

                  by felix19 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:28:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  So they're eager for "Greek Style" (6+ / 0-)

          austerity, too?

          When the functioning democracy of Greece tried to mitigate some of the damages to the Greek people that the EU's austerity regime would impose, the EU replaced Greece's reluctant prime minister with someone more submissive.

          What makes the Ukrainians think that the EU and IMF will treat them any better, or that they will have a functioning democracy under the EU's wing -- any more than Greece does?

          Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

          by felix19 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:41:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But your friends in Kyiv (5+ / 0-)

          do not speak for all Ukrainians. And certainly not for all of Crimea. Maybe you think they should -- but unless cooler heads prevail, all Ukrainians will be at risk of continued violence.

      •  Well, they must be in minority (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sharon Wraight
        Polls in 2011 showed 33 percent of Crimeans of all ethnic backgrounds in support of joining the federation, and another showed that figure had dropped to 23 percent in 2013.

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

        by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:13:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Opposition boycott (2+ / 0-)

      You know the opposition boycotted the vote, right?  If all the people opposed don't show up to vote, there's no surprise that the result is so lopsided.

    •  Kim Jong Vladimr Strikes! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, bear83

      ObamaCare! Sign-up by phone: 1-800-318-2596

      by mwm341 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:00:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can't wait to hear DailyKos Putin apologists (9+ / 0-)

    defend the "fair and balanced" voting in Crimea. I guess them freedom loving Tartars really heart Russia, according to voting returns.

  •  Took a long time for Russia to be integrated into (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bufffan20, assyrian64, ArthurPoet, TopCat

    the world economy......gone in a flash.

  •  But Obama hasn't annexed anybody. That means he's (4+ / 0-)

    weak. . . . .

    Reeal men annex.

    ". . .as singularly embarrassing a public address as any allegedly sentient primate ever has delivered." - Charles P. Pierce

    by Rikon Snow on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:35:30 AM PDT

  •  Russia can do whatever they want (10+ / 0-)

    Russia, or rather Russians, are becoming more and more bold in their actions both at home and internationally.  We can talk about sanctions and condemnation from the U.S. and maybe some others, but really, those aren't of any real consequence to the Russians.  America has shined above Russia for many, many years ever since the "knock down that wall" speech and subsequent end to what used to be the USSR.  They had to deal with overwhelming poverty and goods shortages and eventually had to accept that their socialist ways kept them from being the kind of country they could truly become.  They accepted a form of capitalism that has since grown and grown and as a result, they've become a very big force (power, if you will) internationally again.  And, even though the UN might moan and groan at some of their actions, there's very little they can do or will do to make a difference for Russia.  I truly think they are enjoying flexing their muscles on the world stage.  

    One thing is for sure.  America is not going to really do much against them with the exception of some things that are mostly wallpaper and meaningless rhetoric.  I'd truly like to see Obama and our state department just end our conversation on the whole Crimea event and go on with what's truly important to Americans which is our economy, our unemployment, our homeless and such.

    •  short term, yes (5+ / 0-)

      obviously, Russia can annex its former territory and no one (other than the Ukrainians) can do anything to stop it. Just as the United States could annex Mexico.

      But why bother when the short term gain is so low and the potential for long term pain is so high?

      The stability of Russia's economy is entirely dependent on its position as a member in good standing of the global community.

      Yes, much of eastern Europe is dependent on Russian energy exports. But all those countries will now look to other sources. And, lo, the United States is looking to become a massive NG exporter.

      Russia's actions in Crimea have guaranteed that their exports to Europe have already peaked and now will start to decline.

      What happens to Russia's economy then? And if the energy money dries up, Putin's position in Russia becomes much less stable.

      •  We'll see (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mconvente, ArthurPoet, native

        You've outlined a scenario I've read recently on another site.  I am skeptical, however.  It might be how it SHOULD happen, but I guess I am in a "wait and see" mode on it.  

        If you are right about the increase in NG exports from the U.S., this would seem good for us rather than bad.  I know the environmental concerns with regard to mining the gas, so maybe your "lo" remark is due to that.  

        In any case, If I was a betting person, I would not bet that there will be a decline in Russia's exports on much of anything because of this.

        •  not arguing for a decline (0+ / 0-)

          and yes, this crisis is very good for the United States in a lot of ways. Not just for opening new markets to US exports.

          By invading Crimea, Putin has justified every action the United States has ever taken to expand NATO.

          Europe is now grappling with the fact that they can no longer trust Russia to bargain in good faith on anything.

          Putin's power (and Russia's economy) depend on steadily increasing energy exports.

      •  I don't think so. (3+ / 0-)

        Exporting LNG to east Europe is not feasible, for a variety of reasons. A detailed analysis of this is provided in an excellent diary by ManfromMiddletown:

        •  short term, yes (0+ / 0-)

          a lot of the argument there is that we can't export NG right now.

          And that is true. And that is the reason why Germany, especially, is staying pretty quiet.

          But in 10 years, if Russia maintains its belligerence with the west, will that still be true?

          If Germany and the rest of eastern Europe start diversifying away from Russian NG, that will negatively impact Russia's economy.

          There's an enormous difference between Russia's energy profits increasing year-after-year and Russia's profits stagnating for a decade.

          •  A lot of ifs there. And ten years (0+ / 0-)

            is well beyond the scope of this particular crisis.

          •  I'd suggest reading the link ed diary (0+ / 0-)

            In ten years we will still not be able to replace their natural gas. Certainly a switch to renewables would do the trick, but in that time frame Russia can start selling to China and get the infrastructure necessary for that up and running.

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

            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:14:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I read the diary, silly (0+ / 0-)

              we can't offset all of Europe's dependence on Russian gas. But Russia needs exports to grow. A lot. If exports to Europe don't grow because Europe's needs are met by other sources, that's trouble.

              And yes, Russia can export to China, but China will never pay what Europe will pay. Which is the reason they aren't currently exporting gas to China.

              Right now, Europe needs Russia as much as Russia needs Europe. But Europe controls that balance.

              •  China won't pay it now (0+ / 0-)

                But they have been getting richer and richer.

                Right now, Europe needs Russia as much as Russia needs Europe. But Europe controls that balance.
                Russia gets no necessities that I know of from Europe. Given that Russia's population has been shrinking rather than growing even economic growth doesn't seem necessary. It wouldn't be great for Russia, but it would be far more devastating for Europe, especially if Russia decided to pull the plug quickly.

                Russia's reliance on Europe is vastly overstated imho. Too many people are buying into the neoliberal "free trade is inevitable and irreversible" line in this case.

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

                by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:55:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  money, my man, money (0+ / 0-)

                  Russia needs Europe's money.

                  Russia cannot turn off the spigot.

                  And China's largesse is in no way guaranteed. There's a lot of cracks in that centrally managed economy.

                  •  What for? (0+ / 0-)

                    They can certainly use Europe's money, but most of that goes to the Oligarchs.

                    And let's not forget that no government's are seriously talking about cutting petrol imports at this point except possibly the US. The governments all targeted individuals with their sanctions, which will be annoying to some people, but nothing serious.

                    And under-estimating China is foolish. The US government is pushing through the KXL pipeline to send them shale oil at more expensive prices than the US would pay for it, so I don't see why they'd pay less for NG.

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

                    by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:59:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, I don't know. Vicky Nuland picked the new (4+ / 0-)

      leader of Ukraine -- several weeks before the revolution.  heh heh

      Nuland: Good. I don't think Klitsch  [Vitaly Klitschko, one of three main opposition leaders] should go into the government. I don't think it's necessary, I don't think it's a good idea.

      Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the... what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside

      "Yats" = Arseniy Yatseniuk

      I liked how she wanted to relieve the demonstrators on the Maidan of the burden of this decision --lighten their work load, as it were.

  •  And the GOP all sing: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, kerflooey, wishingwell

    "Putie! Putie!  Lend me your comb!"

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:40:29 AM PDT

  •  realistically, Putin has no choice (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jjohnjj, liberte, native

    Russia has for centuries needed a warm-water port. And Sevastapol, in the Crimea, is the only one it has had.  Russia's export/import economy is utterly dependent on that--the ONLY port in the entire country that is not shut down by ice for several months a year. Simple economic necessity demands that Russia keep control over it.

    Yes, it is true that Russia has zero legal right to Sevestapol, none whatever, and that invading and occupying a sovereign nation and seizing a part of its territory, is intolerable.

    But realistically, Russia simply has no choice.

    There will be no longterm solution to this situation unless all sides recognize the fact of that simple reality and deal with it.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:43:47 AM PDT

    •  there was never a threat to Russia's port (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      tell me another.

      •  it's not Russia's port (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's not in Russia.

        It's in the Ukraine.

        That is the threat.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:53:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  From their point of view (3+ / 0-)

        the events in Kyiv were a threat. Right next door.

        How would we we react if say Quebec sought to break away from Canada and spoke of possible alliances with oh maybe Russia or China, maybe even military alliances?  We'd just sit on our hands, right.

        After the shit we (Bush) pulled to justify that horrendous  war in Iraq, we don't have much moral high ground here.

        •  are there Russian troops in Quebec? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence, TKO333

          I think that would change the narrative slightly, don't you?

          I think this is a terrible analogy.

          But since you're asking, I expect the United States would do much the same thing they're doing in Ukraine. They would offer support and assistance to the Canadian government. They would demand that any foreign troops withdraw from Canada's territory at once.

          the events in Kyiv were a threat. Right next door.
          Here's the thing, though. For at least a week, we've known that every nightmare that the Russians had about the Ukrainian revolution was wrong. There was no threat to Russian-speakers. There was no move to seize the military base or to limit Russian access to Sevastopol.

          Why are there Russian troops in Crimea?

          •  Oh, bull. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            al23, native, Judgment at Nuremberg

            The US has been trying to lure Ukraine into NATO for years.   And when that happens, Russia's ICBMs sites will be vulnerable to a surprise First Strike by US stealth fighters launched from Ukraine.   Plus NATO has consistently refused Russian requests that nuclear weapons not be deployed near Russia.

            From Putin's viewpoint, what other reason does the US have for stirring up trouble and dumping $Billions into a bankrupt country 4500 miles from the US?

            •  The EU has been trying to lure (3+ / 0-)

              Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia into its orbit for decades.

              They call it the Eastern Partnership and have been quite open about it -- and their objectives.

              Most Americans have no idea...

              Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

              by felix19 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:44:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  for decades! so pernicious (0+ / 0-)

                I don't see European troops in Ukraine or Belarus or any of those countries. I don't see parts of those countries holding "referendums" on seceding and joining neighboring EU countries.

                Apparently it's scary for Russia to have neighbors that make decisions for themselves.

                •  Not really scary when the neighbor gives up 100s (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  of nukes in exchange for meaningless promises from the guy who said he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky. ha ha


                  "Words matter, and a big question at the time arose over whether to use the term "guarantees" or "assurances" in the memorandum. The United States provides guarantees to allies, such as NATO member states; the term implies a military commitment. In the early 1990s, neither the George H. W. Bush administration nor the Clinton administration was prepared to extend a military commitment to Ukraine— and both felt that, even if they wanted to, the Senate would not produce the needed two-thirds vote for consent to ratification of such a treaty.

                  The Budapest Memorandum thus was negotiated as a political agreement. It refers to assurances, not defined, but less than a military guarantee. U.S. negotiators —myself among them — discussed this point in detail with Ukrainian counterparts so that there would be no misunderstanding."

                  2) I'm sure they did.  But some Ukrainians apparently didn't get the memo.

                  Does give the Hillary Campaign another interesting Bill problem, however.   Do we let Ukrainians get slaughtered or do we try to honor Bill's assurances and tell the voters they need to send their sons off to yet another manure hole 4500 miles from home?

                •  You're welcome to Google (0+ / 0-)

                  the Great Patriotic War in your spare time, or maybe have a look at Napoleon's adventures into the steppe if you'd like an idea of how the efforts of the EU might be perceived by Russia.

                  Or not. What's "scary" is probably not neighbors making decisions for themselves. It's neighbors being turned into colonial outposts of the EU, NATO and the US and potential staging grounds for the dismantlement of the Russian Federation.

                  "I don't see European troops" -- no, and you probably won't for the foreseeable future.

                  That's not the point. What's been happening is something more pernicious.

                  For decades, the EU (with the cooperation and collaboration of its US partners) has had an extremely active European Integration campaign in Ukraine and the other countries of the Eastern Partnership, operated on the ground by literally hundreds of NGOs, funded almost entirely by EU government agencies, the USAID, NED, and a few of our own plutocrats and oligarchs.

                  The Kremlin, of course, has known about this, but Americans and many Europeans are largely oblivious.

                  These NGOs are essentially "educational and advocacy" outfits -- in other words, propaganda and marketing endeavors -- which are intended to convinced the peoples of the Eastern Partnership nations (Ukraine, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and Belarus) that their future is with Europe, not Russia, and to insist that their governments align with Europe, not Russia.

                  This campaign has had no parallel from the Russian side. It's been going on since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and it's been going on long enough that the younger generation knows almost nothing but EU and European Integration ideas -- and propaganda.

                  Ukraine has been targeted for "integration" for many years, and it looks like it will be the first of the Eastern Partnership nations to be "integrated." Moldova is likely to be next.

                  Of course what that integration really means for the peoples of the Eastern Partnership is yet for them to learn.

                  Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

                  by felix19 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:17:52 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No parallel? (0+ / 0-)
                    This campaign has had no parallel from the Russian side.
                    Russia would never resort to propaganda! Those Europeans and their dastardly tricks of talking to people. What nerve!
                    Of course what that integration really means for the peoples of the Eastern Partnership is yet for them to learn.
                    Does it mean stealing $70Billion from the country you were elected to run?
                    •  You tell me. (0+ / 0-)

                      What do you think it means? Do you think Greek style austerity is what Ukrainians thought they'd get by Euro-"integration?"

                      And no, there has been nothing comparable to the EU/US campaign on behalf of European integration from Russia. Nothing remotely comparable.

                      I don't see Russia wanting these nations back as part of a reassembled Soviet Union.

                      The Russians just don't want to see another assembly of hostile powers on their western border.

                      Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

                      by felix19 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:54:27 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  19th century thinking (0+ / 0-)

                        Invading and annexing part of a country seems like a funny way to avoid making it hostile.

                        I'm still unclear what you're saying the Europeans are doing in Ukraine?

                        Here's what I have so far:
                        Spending money.
                        Talking to people.

                        If this is some diabolical plot, it's of the underpants gnome variety.

                        Do you think Greek style austerity is what Ukrainians thought they'd get by Euro-"integration?"
                        Funny that the guy who stole all Ukraine's money is in Russia, acting and sounding like Putin's puppet.

                        It seems to me that the Ukrainians want Euro-integration because Russo-integration hasn't really been working out too hot these last twenty years.

                        •  Can you actually deal with the question? (0+ / 0-)

                          "Do you think Greek style austerity is what Ukrainians thought they'd get by Euro-"integration?""

                          That's what they'll get -- if they're lucky; if the EU decides to pull no punches, it will be much worse for the Ukrainian people than the Greeks have been suffering for years under EUrobank diktat.

                          What Russian "integration" are you referring to? Are you familiar with the parade of governments in Kiev since independence?

                          None of them have "integrated" Ukraine with Russia.

                          Even Yanukovych's blundering ineptitude wouldn't have done that.

                          Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

                          by felix19 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:58:06 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  What Euro-integration? (0+ / 0-)
                            None of them have "integrated" Ukraine with Russia.
                            Excluding Crimea, obviously.
                            Do you think Greek style austerity is what Ukrainians thought they'd get by Euro-"integration?"
                            This is just such a weird question. There are so many assumptions in there that don't match reality.

                            For example:
                            - you use "thought they'd get" which implies that you think Ukraine has already been integrated.
                            - you put quotes around "integration" so I have no idea what that could mean for you. (Obviously it means something to you. Something terrible and evil.)
                            - you focus on Greece, a country that is nothing like Ukraine, instead of choosing other post-soviet countries that would make more obvious parallels.

                            But let's unpack your question so it makes sense and I'll try to answer it.

                            How about: do you think the protesters who ousted Yanukovich thought Europe would bail their country out?

                            No. I do not.

                            Obviously I'm in no position to know what the maidan protesters thought. I am pretty confident that they overthrew Yanukovich because he was a crook who ordered the murder of his own people. And I think what they want from Europe is help forming and keeping a stable, responsive, not-corrupt government.

                            I can forgive them for not looking for help from Putin.

                            I am also quite confident that Ukraine's government will now accept any and all assistance from the west with whatever strings Europe chooses to attach because Russian troops are currently occupying and annexing their territory.

                          •  I put "integration" in quotes (0+ / 0-)

                            for the simple reason that the EU's concept of integration of its Far Periphery appears to be quite different than what they have been selling through their NGOs for years to the Ukrainian people.

                            From the EU's perspective, "integration" means economic control and exploitation, perhaps quite a bit worse than the economic control and exploitation already imposed on the EU's Near Periphery, with Greece as the sad poster child.

                            From the Ukrainian people's perspective it's quite different. They probably do want something similar to what you say they want with regard to government -- but there is much more to the EU's marketing campaign they've been subjected to. They've been promised a lot.
                            But the EU's intentions are something else.

                            It deals with "reforming" the economy -- which means austerity but is sold as prosperity; it means removing restrictions on land sales to foreigners; it means privatization and sale of remaining public services and infrastructure, cutting pensions, reducing even further social and health services, and raising costs  to individuals of what remains The EU's program of reform is quite comprehensive, and it leads directly to the further embeggaring the Ukrainian people.

                            Did they vote for this? Is this what they were clamoring for when they were being demagogued nonstop from the stage in the Maidan? I don't think so.

                            The EU came up with an 11bn € "aid" package almost as soon as Yatsenyuk was seated in the PM's slot. It requires reforms such as I describe, and the majority of this "aid" is for the banks and other investors -- just like Greece though the conditions may be even more severe for the people.

                            That's not even touching on all the US and EU corporate partners who have lined up for a piece of the action.

                            The Ukrainian people are being screwed under the EU's wing, as they would be under Russian authority, but despite a lot of armwaving and hysterics, there is no sign that Russia wants Ukraine back. It would be an economic and political drain to say the least. Crimea is a different subject from the Russian perspective. Not only are the ties to Crimea more... essential (ie: the existing Russian military installations), the people there who voted voted overwhelmingly to join Russia.

                            We'll see what happens from this point, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Kremlin pump a lot of money into Crimea while EU and US predators strip the rest of Ukraine bare.

                            Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

                            by felix19 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 11:05:29 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  What propaganda outlets has Russia had (0+ / 0-)

                      in Ukraine prior to this? That would be comparable. Obviously they have state run media in Russia, but that's an entirely different thing than funding a huge number of organizations in a different country.

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

                      by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:19:00 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  RT is in many countries (0+ / 0-)

                        and is funded by the Russian Government. We can disagree on the quality of their reporting -- I've found it mixed in the past, and more and more dubious in the past year or two -- but they are certainly a widespread media outlet far beyond just Russia, aimed specifically at the overseas market, and they are linked (how much depends on what you read) pretty directly with the Kremlin.

                        Not maybe formally state run, depending, again, on who you read. Certainly state funded. And available in many countries, Ukraine and beyond.

                        •  Funding a bunch of NGOs to spread "democracy" (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          is very different than having a couple news networks. The EU and the US do both. I haven't seen an equivalent push from Russia.

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

                          by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:47:27 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  The NGO's are, in my experience, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            a very mixed bag. I don't think I feel comfortable broad-brushing that. Some programs are very good for a lot of people. Some clearly are political missions.

                            I don't know whether Russia has ever done similar in those terms, but Russia has also tended to have a very different ethic. America always, always wants a nice moral story about freedom, democracy, and human rights, one that involves actions that happens to also align with its own interests, most of the time.

                            Russia, on the other hand, is fine with just occupying, at least historically.

                          •  I just have to wonder what the US would do (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            if China did the same thing.

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

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:24:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The same thing in Mexico, I should say. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            What would happen if China dumped a few billions into pro-communist groups and propaganda in Mexico? That's pretty much the reason we invaded a number of countries during the cold war.

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

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:48:30 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  I do not know of any evidence that (0+ / 0-)

              a "first strike" capability in this example would result in anything other than mutually assured destruction for all nations.  I believe that was the case in 1962 and would be the case now. Not to mention the fact that nuclear submarines have extended range and secrecy of nuclear weapons all over the known globe and there are other technology improvements in detecting and range/launching of ICBM's. but if you know of other evidence or independent analysis to the contrary, I would be interested in it.

              It would be a very symbolically provocative move however, which is why I do not approve of nato doing such things. And from many accounts  putin does take both strength and appearance of strength seriously.

          •  No, no Russian troops (3+ / 0-)

            in Quebec, but are there NATO forces the former Baltic states and Poland and there has been talk by some of letting Ukraine into NATO.

            And how the heck do you know that there has been no threat to Russian speakers??? Plenty of ultra right wing demonstrators in Kyiv.

            Putin may be the devil, I don't know. But what I do know is that the Russians lost 20 mullion souls in WWII and they still tend to be a bit sensitive about threats from the west.

            Why are there Russian troops in Crimea? To annex it, obviously and for the same reason, in my lifetime, we've sent troops to Panama, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Djibouti, Vietnam,  Grenada, various places in the old Yugoslavia, Iraq and  Afghanistan to name a few. Because we both (Russia and the USA) felt it was in our interest to do so. And because we could.

            •  Why not invade the whole country then? (0+ / 0-)

              Gish galloping, I see.

              The Russian army is much larger than the Ukrainian army. The Ukrainians have no military allies. No one will risk a larger war to prevent Russia from beating up on its neighbor.

              But why bother? Russia's geographic, economic, social, political and military influence over Ukraine are unparalleled. Anything Putin gets from occupying Crimea he could have more easily gained through negotiation.

              And what is the point of invading only Crimea? It is not sustainable without Ukraine. And the government of Ukraine isn't likely to be friendly after this. Unless, of course, the Russians take Kiev.

              There are millions of ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Will Putin abandon them to their fate? How come? What makes the Crimeans so special?

              This whole thing doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense geo-politically, it doesn't make sense economically. It may make sense for Putin's domestic politics, but then, was he really in that much danger domestically?

              Did he just get bored?

              Panama, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Djibouti, Vietnam,  Grenada, various places in the old Yugoslavia, Iraq and  Afghanistan
              God, what a list. Why would anyone want to emulate that?
              •  So now this is just the beginning? (0+ / 0-)

                The first domino to fall!

                Good to see we've got the cold warriors back on patrol.

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

                by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:22:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  There was in the eyes of Russia. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        And that's what you are glossing over in your replies.

        In the eyes of the Russian authority, the turning eyes towards the west of the Ukrainian government is a direct threat to Mother Russia. The lease on the naval base would be in jeopardy and they "can not have that."

        You are looking at it only through the eyes of a westerner, not as a (rightfully?) paranoid Russian.

        There is no "path" to choose. The path is what is behind you that led you to today. What lies in front of you is not a fork in the road - a choice of paths to take, but rather an empty field for you to blaze your own direction.

        by cbabob on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:43:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Crimean ports will not be able to import (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, duhban

      From countries that don't recognize as part of Russia, nor will it be able to export anything to countries that don't recognize it as part of Russia. So basically, Crimea ports will be military and domestic ports only now. International trade is dead for Crimea ports as long as the international community doesn't recognize it.  

      "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

      by Texas Lefty on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:54:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, it is not Russia's only warm water part. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Texas Lefty

      Russia has ports in Novorossiysk and Sochi.

      Sevastopol is economically not interesting for Russia.

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

      by Lawrence on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:58:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree. US's interest in Panama is the best analogy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, native, Judgment at Nuremberg

      El Norte has had a presence in Panama since 1846. The gunboats arrived in 1885. In 1903, we orchestrated Panama's secession from Columbia and imposed a treaty on the new nation granting rights to the United States "as if it were sovereign" in the Canal Zone.

      The rest of Panama was ruled by a local oligarchy deeply connected to the economy of the canal.

      I imagine that if we'd given Panama back to Columbia in 1977, instead of to the oligarchs, and Marxist revolutionaries then staged a coup in Bogota', Panama would be occupied by U.S. forces and invited to join Puerto Rico as a U.S. territory as quickly as you can say "Sevastopol".

      The U.S. did, in fact, invade Panama in 1989 and depose its government..."to protect American lives".

      I'm not trying to make a "both sides do it" defense of Russia's actions. These are simply two cases of what we used to call "Realpolitik".

      We must choose our battles wisely.

      “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
      he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

      by jjohnjj on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:47:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hear the sound of distant drums (0+ / 0-)

    far, far away.  

  •  As someone who was around for the Cold War (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, Timaeus, mconvente

    I find the current actions of the Russians considerably more despicable than I recall back in ye olden days of yore.
    Could be age, or experience. Or it could be that Putin is so blatantly a thuggish character out of THE SOPRANOS, just without the dirt under the fingernails. Not an ideologue. Not even another megalomaniac out to conquer the world. Just another brutish lowlife out to enrich his ass and secure his comfortable position by also enriching his pals. Of course he doesnt see himself that way. His kind often have very grandiose ideas about themselves. But he's basically crap.

  •  This is going to go down as a big day in history- (7+ / 0-)

    the day when all hopes of Russia becoming a modern democracy were dashed.

    A very tragic day.

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

    by Lawrence on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:01:05 AM PDT

  •  How about those defense cuts ? (0+ / 0-)

    While we certainly shouldn't send any troops to the region, it is naive to think there is some sort of new world order that makes war obsolete.  Societies have been saying that for ever and it has always proved wrong.  Only the dead have seen the end of war (cant remember who said that) The world still has plenty of dangerous people out there.

  •  I love how republicans think Craven Weakness is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, wishingwell, sweatyb


    Vlad is a very, very weak leader. Not a strong one. A strong leader doesn't need to poison his opponents.

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

    by OllieGarkey on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:08:39 AM PDT

  •  Mass Media Agenda (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Judgment at Nuremberg

    Before you sign up on the basis of the American mass media agenda, know history. Before the gas chambers the Ukraine was where the Holocaust started. As the German Army advanced across the Ukraine another came behind it, Death squads. They rounded up all the Jews with the help of the Ukrainian Police and civilians. In many instances the village would go into the woods where the Germans were shooting the Jews and cheer. So a Democratically elected President is a crook, hmm...where else is this done...So after they overthrew this Democratically elected President  ,they made the Russian language illegal. If Putin doesn't help the Russian people of Crimea and the Eastern Ukraine, he is done at home. He has no choice.

    •  Lol! (7+ / 0-)

      Yes, poor Putin has no choice.

      Nice to see that you forgot about Stalin's Holodomor genocide:

      The Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомор, "Extermination by hunger" or "Hunger-extermination";[2] derived from 'Морити голодом', "Killing by Starvation" [3][4][5]) was a man-made famine in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1932 and 1933 that killed up to 7.5 million Ukrainians.[6] During the famine, which is also known as the "Terror-Famine in Ukraine" and "Famine-Genocide in Ukraine",[7][8][9] millions of citizens of Ukrainian SSR, the majority of whom were Ukrainians, died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine.[10] Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by the independent Ukraine and several other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people.

      Unlike you, the Ukrainians have not forgotten.

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

      by Lawrence on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:38:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Funny, the people complaining loudest (0+ / 0-)

        about the "Holodomor" are those in western provinces that were in Poland and/or Czechoslovakia at the time.

        The provinces that suffered the most were those in the extreme east (Kharkiv, Luhansk etc) and they voted HEAVY for Yanukovitch and don't much care for the neo-Nazi glorification of the western "heroes" of nazi style ethnic cleansing.

        And the other hilarious thing about thye
        Holodymor" argument is to say it's the "Russians" like Stalin and Beria (Georgians) amd Lazar Kaganovitch (Kiev, Ukraine) that did it.   Lower functionaries of all ethnicities, but mostly other local Ukrainians.

        This is a garbage right wing western Ukrainian argument in their effort to justify their collaboration with (and imitation of) nazi's.  

        •  seriously? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sharon Wraight

          We (the US) "complain" about the Holocaust and we lived in America at the time. Where you are doesn't make a difference as to whether or not you stand up against a genocide. The fact remains that 7.5 million ethnic Ukrainians died in that genocide by starvation. It doesn't matter if they lived in the west or the east or the south or the north. It wasn't ethnic Russians that died, it was ethnic Ukrainians.

          And the other hilarious thing about thye
          Holodymor" argument
          There was NOTHING hilarious about it. NOTHING. It was human murder on a massive scale - a genocide.

          I really don't understand what argument you're trying to make. But in my opinion, its a twisted one.

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

          by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:37:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes - I like that huge Museum they have on the (0+ / 0-)

            National Mall   that tells the tragic story of the extermination of the Native American Indians.  Never Again.

            And  how the Smithsonian Enola Gay exhibit described  how many Japanese children burned in their own fat at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


            And how many German children starved to death in that WWI blockade imposed by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.  

    •  Comment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a gilas girl

      This was, in fact, a horrible series of crimes against humanity all around.

      You're correct in observing that there's never been a shortage of virulent antisemitism in that part of the world.  And the Ukrainians hated the Russians, and predictably greeted the Nazis as liberators.

      Unfortunately for them, the Nazis considered the Slavic Ukrainians to be an "inferior race", and proceeded to start exterminating them as soon as the Ukrainians helped the Nazis finish off the Jews.  So they fought both and right now tend to be even more insular.

      I don't advocate total silence on the subject, but the useful US response is limited to symbolic sanctions that don't matter.  The Crimea is going back to Russia.  That doesn't make it right.  But we don't have all that much credibility in the world either, especially given that Putin's political faction has more than a little bit of support among Western conservatives.  If we really want to push back, we need to eliminate faith-based economics here, and then use reason-based economics (aka, another Marshall plan) to get the rest of the Ukraine out of the hole.

      •  Not true (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Not all Ukrainians... The western provinces (once ruled by Poland) was the incubator of the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist genocidal movement and that existed BEFORE the nazi's rolled in.  

        There are statues and modern proclamations honoring the western Ukrainian fascists in western Ukrainian areas, much to the horror of Ukrainians in the east.  There is no "one" Ukraine.  They are now irrevocably split by history and they very much argue about history like it was yesterday, because they felt it as much as any other area did.

        •  Yeah, there's a reason not many people (0+ / 0-)

          who were affected by those things are still in the places they were perpetrated. Something about dying en masse.

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

          by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:27:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's probably safe to bet (0+ / 0-)

      that the US Mass Media Agenda does not lean toward nuanced historical analysis of a complex situation, when has it ever?

      That this is yet another political "gift" of unresolved geo-political strife from WWII papered over by the as ideologi cal needs of a cold war agenda on the parts of both the Soviet bloc and the West is horrifically obvious.  And somewhat familiar, seems perhaps we haven't learned much from the breakup of Yugoslavia.

      Still, thanks for joining the conversation here, and giving us things to ponder, even if not all of us can or will agree with all of your characterizations.

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 04:38:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It looks like Russia, once again, is wasting no (3+ / 0-)

    time and that their "ceasefire" with the Ukrainian military until the 21st was just another in a long string of lies:

    17:10 In Simferopol, the storm of a military unit is continuing, a Ukrainian officer was wounded, reports TSN.

    The storm has been going on for 1,5 hours. Machine guns continue to shoot. Near the military units, there are ambulances and law enforcement vehicles.

    The head of the Naval Armed Forces of Ukraine Counter-Admiral Sergiy Gaiduk stated that during the storming one of the Ukrainian officers was wounded. He was shot in the leg twice.

    “As of 4 p.m. in Simferopol an officer received two gunshot wounds in the leg,” told Gaiduk and added that at the moment the officer’s life is not under threat.

    He also emphasised that cases of kidnapping of soldiers have become more frequently. Overall five soldiers were taken hostage, three have been freed, two more are still being detained by the self-defence. -

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

    by Lawrence on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:26:11 AM PDT

  •  I am so damned confused now, my brain hurts - (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, mconvente, TKO333

    On one hand, we have neocons comparing progressives to Nazis and their "krystallnacht" against those unfortunate, victimized wealthy elite - and then we have them extolling the virtues of Putin - style "leadership" which can almost step by step and word for word be directly compared to Austria's "Anschluß Österreichs " of 1938 by Hitler.

    Good effin' god, you dysfunctional neocon historian wannabes - make up your damned minds! Listening to you idiots is like watching a couple of mimes in a tennis match without a ball!

  •  Except it isn't the USSR (3+ / 0-)

    ...and Crimea has only been in Ukraine since 1954 (I think that's when Khrushchev awarded it to his home Republic).

    What this announcement means is that the current Ukraine government is unwilling to honor Russia's lease on Sevastapol nor is it will to restore the official language to both Ukrainian and Russian.   It also migh mean that the Ukraine government is not willing to prevent right-wing parties from attempting ethnic consolidation of Ukraine.

    This might be the final state of affairs or it might be an intermediate negotiating state.

    But Victoria Nuland needs to recogize that her and her extended family have lost in their attempt to eradicate the Russian Black Sea fleet through regime change.  And the Obama administration needs to fire her soon for endangering  the global peace with a US-Russia confrontation that was being hyped by the neo-cons as a new Cold War and feared by ordinary Americans as the start of World War III or World War IV, depending on how they count the GWOT.  Nuland and Pyatt were reckless.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:10:57 AM PDT

    •  Surely you don't think we should hand out a (0+ / 0-)

      $35 Billion aid package to Ukraine without a lot of strings attached?

      After all, those retirees in Detroit need a reason for why they should develop a liking for dog food.

    •  My question about Ms. Nuland (0+ / 0-)

      In her actions with regard to Ukraine, was she carrying out official policy orders from the administration & specifically the secretary of state, or was she basically free-lancing or acting on her own agenda? From everything I've been able to glean, she appears to be at the least a very loose cannon.

  •  Yeah, right. (4+ / 0-)

    He organized an election in less than 2 weeks, and counted the votes in less than one day.  

    The whole sleazy use of russian troops without insiginia, shooting at UN inspectors.  (When you do the latter, you should not be a part of the UN anymore.  That is not hyperbole.)

    This is just thuggery and it foreshadows very bad things in the future imho.

    "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

    by Publius2008 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:33:56 AM PDT

  •  The Sochi Opening Ceremony (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texas Lefty, Lawrence

    was a preview of coming attractions. It was a massive, internationally televised circle-jerk to the USSR. Putin used the games to pose a question to his people, and those who miss the USSR:

    "Do you remember when we were huge? When we were glorious? When we were Soviets?"

    The invasion of Crimea has 0 to do with protecting Ethnic Russians, Economics, or even a military port.

    It is glory, it is nationalism. Nothing more, nothing less. Putin even acknowledged this in his speech to the Russian Rubber Stamp Brigade.

    None of this is shocking, really. Although, I had felt that for many years Russia and the West had become closer, and then Vlad started his midlife crisis or something and slowly the relationship unraveled. Putin obviously misses the Russia vs. The World excitement the Cold War gave him as a younger man in the KGB. His people miss it too, and that is fairly obvious. The opening ceremonies made that perfectly clear to the world, that the people of Russia sighed and said "This capitalism, this western idea, it just doesn't have the same grandeur as the days when all my food said CCCP!"

    What is shocking is the number of people in the west that give Putin an out, excuse his behavior, excuse the actions in Crimea. "We do it too!" - Ah, no, we don't. We come close, sure. We do bad things, sure. Generally speaking, in one way or another we hold those responsible, well, responsible. GWB and the GOP took us into one war of marginal legality, another that was on completely dubious grounds. We changed leadership, and began the mea culpa. Same with Nicaragua, same with every other royal CF we happen to make, we eventually do a mea culpa and change leadership. We don't annex. We don't ride into Chihuahua and setup base under the guise of "protecting English speakers", or even protecting law-abiding citizens from the dregs of the Drug War in the Northern Frontier of Mexico.

    I hope Thom Hartmann leaves RT soon, I gave RT a try because I'm always willing to hear an alternative side, but then I realized that I actually got more honest news from Comedy Central and more Comedy from RT. Now ain't THAT a kick in the head.

    •  USSR? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Acknowledgement that there once was a Soviet Union -- where there had been Olympic games in the past -- is somehow a "circle jerk" to the Soviet Union?

      There are those who want to erase the Soviet period from Russian history, but why? It happened. It's part of the pageant of Russia -- which is what the opening ceremony was about.

      "Restoring the Soviet Union" has become a meme in the west to "explain" Putin, and it's baseless.

      Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

      by felix19 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:44:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Um, ever heard of Texas? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  Actually, (0+ / 0-)

      I heard from my Russian friends that within Russia there was a great deal of criticism about how little those opening ceremonies referenced the USSR, as if 80+ years of their history was being ignored.

      I guess it's all in the perspective, but I found that intriguing.


      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:34:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Putin has gone off deep end. US+EU playing smart (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weathertop, Lawrence

    All derision about the West being "toothless", etc. are misplaced.

    There is nothing you can do militarily.

    As to sanctions,

    1. You want to make a fool-proof case that even the prevaricators can sign off to. Now, by being gradual and careful, they have let Putin make the case for them. I mean this speech and these Russian actions are like taken from a time-travel piece back to pre-WWII times.

    2. The main counter-leverage Russia has against sanctions, is to cut off gas. Winter is quickly ending. If the West had rushed with maximum sanctions right away, Russia could have made Europeans (esp. in smaller Eastern Europe countries and Ukraine) very miserable in March.

    Now the deeper sanctions will come within a week or so. End of March. End of Russian leverage by freezing its neighbors to death - at least until October. The Russian economy won't last that long under full sanctions.

    3. Finally, Kerry's initial over-the-top rhetoric notwithstanding, it is also known that the West has limited moral high ground to stand on, if at all. What they do have to stand on, is practical considerations that countering Putin's threat to world peace is a must-do. As argued above, Putin just handed that to them on a silver platter.

    •  I'm kind of tired (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fcvaguy, Lawrence

      Of the no moral high ground comments. No, the US and EU are not perfect, and all have their share of shameful pasts. The US has for the most part learned it's lesson from the wars GWB entered us into (one of marginal legality, the other of complete dubious nature), but the fact still remains the US has not annexed any countries. Nicaragua, Vietnam, etc. are far enough in the past. It would be like saying Angela Merkel can't say anything to Russia because of you-know-who.

      Point being, there is no moral high ground in global geopolitics. No country has been moral, everyone has dirt and some quite literal skeletons. So to talk about moral high ground is a moot point.

      What we do have to stand on is the rule of law. And that is pretty clear in this situation. The issue is not that Crimea want's to succeed. It's that it violated Ukranian Law with the help of a foreign power to do it. Minus nukes, the exact same situation would be present if Mexico invaded Arizona, and Arizona voted to join Mexico based on historical context. The morality is moot. The US took that land from Mexico at gun point, and the reverse would be present. The legality would be important, and in the US at least, we have what I call the "Hotel California" rule: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

      You keep using that word... I don't think it means what you think it means.

      by weathertop on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:39:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "far enough in the past" (5+ / 0-)

        Who gets to make this decision?

        We only left Iraq two years ago, and we're still propping up a corrupt regime in Afghanistan 13 years later. Pretending like that's history seems absurd to me.

        What we do have to stand on is the rule of law.
        So we're going to prosecute for torture as we're required to do so under the rule of law? Or prosecute bankers? No, our government doesn't care about the rule of law except where it gives us moral cover to go after our enemies.

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

        by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:52:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reading comprehension needs some work (0+ / 0-)

          I'll point out that my comment did not state that Iraq and Afghanistan are far enough in the past. Vietnam and Nicaragua are, whole different set of leaders, generations, social norms, that is what the "past" refers to.

          We can talk about a nation's past, but to always hold it against them forever is to make the child pay for their father's sins. Hence why Germany, France, and the UK are all allies even though if we held long historical grudges we'd find justification to write off all of them.

          As far as the rule of law, no one is perfect there, but again, no one has clean hands. Expecting moral authority in order to call BS on someone else, you're never going to find it. I shouldn't have to point this out, but the US is significantly better about the whole rule-of-law thing than many, many other countries.

          You keep using that word... I don't think it means what you think it means.

          by weathertop on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:37:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are people still alive who have been (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and are being directly impacted by both Vietnam and Nicaragua. More so Iraq and Afghanistan. And plenty of the people who are intimately connected with Nixon are still around in the form of the Neocons, some of them were the one's who took us into Iraq and Afghanistan. This isn't about moral authority so much as it's about actually fixing the problems we've made, which our country refuses to do. We have an election and five years past and suddenly everything is in the past. It's maddening.

            As far as the rule of law, no one is perfect there, but again, no one has clean hands.
            Exactly, no one is clean, so appealing to the rule of law is a farce. The US government cares not one whit about the rule of law, every protest otherwise is a cynical appeal to propaganda. Saying we should intervene somewhere because it's the right thing to do is one thing, saying we should intervene because of the rule of law is bullshit. That's my only point there.

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

            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:03:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't _entirely_ disagree with you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but even if the law is not uniformly enforced and is sometimes ignored by powerful people, it's a whole 'nuther can of worms to firmly walk away from ever enforcing it in any situation.

              The world doesn't really do "consistent," so if you're looking for that, I'm not sure it's ever going to happen. We charged into Iraq, we shrugged at Rwanda; we're watching Ukraine, we're not watching the Central African Republic. We said stuff about Egyptian protests, we said little about Saudi ones.

              Every country in the world does the same. Every country in the world is first and foremost looking out for its own security, and "economics" is actually security, too, in the history of the world.

              But we do seem to me to need some basic set of rules that keep things from utterly running amok, at least most of the time. They will never be uniformly followed. But at least they can exist as benchmarks, and allow people to sometimes agree to enforce them.

              I don't know how you could make enforcement of them even, unless you gave the UN teeth of its own, which is something nobody anywhere would agree to and would hit all of those "One World Government" buttons all over the place.

              •  I'm talking specifically about international law (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                We only enforce international law when it's against our enemies. To me that says that we don't care at all about it and only use it as propaganda and legitimization for our action.

                Internally I think it's largely broken as well, and the racist drug war is the best example of that, as are the failures to prosecute bankers in any significant cases, to the extent of settling the massive fraud that was robo-signing and then claiming no laws were broken. But that has little if anything to do with the international law that I'm talking about.

                It just makes no sense to me when the US cites international law a reason to do anything when we clearly don't care at all about it except as a cudgel to hit our enemies with. The claim that our sins are somehow history is the other side of this argument. they're as much history as the genocides that the USSR perpetrated in Ukraine.

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

                by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:02:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree with you on much of this (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  All nations are fundamentally self interested, and all governments have a number one goal of retaining their power. That's not just always craven, they of course often see themselves as the good ones who are looking out for their people in the long run, and occasionally maybe they're not wholly wrong. But it means that they're looking out for themselves and their grip first.

                  And, well, we have the biggest cudgel -- military and economic, so on. So we're sure not going to get called out by many other countries when we break international law.

                  Given that there are very few powerful countries with big cudgels, some countries will necessarily be, well, "more equal" than others, when it comes to rights under international law. Laws are really only as good as their enforcement standards.

                  Add to that that no country ever wants so much to commit any real risk to enforcing the law if it doesn't fit its own national interests, and you have the world shrugging at Rwanda, complaining but not able to do anything in Iraq, and getting into conflicts like this one, where the "sides" disagree on who is breaking laws, and there's no impartial judge or jury.

                  Still, I think calling out major illegal actions is important, whenever possible. I did so with Iraq, and will never excuse it as "ancient history" -- it's anything but -- and I agree with you on everything from our historical genocides to our current prison system. I'm just me, in the grand scheme, but it matters at least to me, even when nothing is done or can really be done to stop it.

                  As for my nation, well. Hypocrites aren't to be blindly trusted, but sometimes they're still right about a situation. I support particular pressures or actions, sometimes. I don't support blindly, and I don't kid myself that they're coming from a real or clear moral high ground.

                  With individuals and with nations, claiming the moral high ground is very often actually quite craven. It's almost always a cudgel.

      •  I don't think that Putin thinks the US (0+ / 0-)

        has "learned its lesson". Neither do I, for that matter.

  •  Putin is Adolf Hitler all over again, Hitler (0+ / 0-)

    Said the same exact thing annexing the Sudetenland. "No more territorial demands will be made". And just as the world was saddled with weak leadership in the west during Hitler's time, so are we today. We have a very weak leader here at home and the western European leaders rival Chamberlain in their actions. History repeats itself.

  •  Endgame: casino economy in Crimea (2+ / 0-)
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    fcvaguy, Lawrence

    "The world of criminal money laundering"

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:57:14 AM PDT

  •  The Result? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Judgment at Nuremberg, felix19, AoT

    Dramatically increased defense budgets, torpedoing of the social safety net, cuts to Social Security and Medicare, more international intellectual property protection and freedom of investment treaties like the NAFTA, WTO and TPP, more anti-union legislation, more of everything large multi-national corporations want.

    An even more elongated period of near depression in the U.S. and the EU.

    Perhaps an invasion of Grenada.

    And a further decline of America's power and its stature in the world

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:07:20 AM PDT

  •  THis is yet another issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for the GOP to beat Dems over the head with in the fall elections.  "Obama is weak.  Obama should have done something.  Obama sat back while Russia invaded and annexed part of another country.  Obama/Dems, Obama/Dems, Obama/Dems, weak, weak, weak..."

    I know there is nothing Obama or any other president could have done.  But, that won't matter when Dems are trying to win five Senate seats out of six to hold the Senate, mostly in states where Obama=Weak will play pretty well.  (I'm already conceding SD, MT, WV, and Arkansas to the GOP.  That leaves NC, MI, NH, LA, Alaska, and CO to defend.)

    Right now, Obama is at 41% approval.  That's dismal going into a midterm election.  This can only make it worse.

    •  And had he gone maverick (0+ / 0-)

      As McCain says he would have done, and ended up with being nuked, massive troop losses, or even just embroiling us in WWIII, the story would be Obama/Dems are warmongers, endangingering us all, only the GOP can bring peace.

      That's the thing about the GOP, they know how to spin anything to their advantage even if they have to lie to do it.

      You keep using that word... I don't think it means what you think it means.

      by weathertop on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:45:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Voters Don't Really Care About this Stuff. (0+ / 0-)

      They care about jobs, jobs, and more jobs.

      I miss Speaker Pelosi :^(

      by howarddream on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:58:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As Gary Kasparov said on the radio a few days ago (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    transferring Crimea to the Ukraine made economic and administrative sense.  Most of Crimea's economy is tied closely to the Ukraine.  They get most of their natural gas and electricity through the Ukraine, for example.

    (Yes, it was the same Gary Kasparov who was the chess champion.  He follows politics.)

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:50:19 PM PDT

  •  for a good take (0+ / 0-)

    For a good take on the issue, look back a week or so for Brad deLong's "live blogging" WWII. There's a piece by a Soviet officer liberating the Ukraine from the Nazis. His troops have far outrun their food supplies, but he'd rather they arrange to get fed without looting and killing. In the eastern part of the country, it was easy. They were all Russians. They didn't have much, but the locals were glad the Nazis were being pushed out. In the western part, it was hard. He had to lie and bluff about killing everyone with hand grenades to get his troops fed.

    Crimea was transferred to the Ukraine by Khrushchev who was Ukrainian in 1954. It was a mistake then and is a mistake now. Crimea, and, to be honest, the eastern part of the Ukraine is basically Russian. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Czechoslovakia was split in two. Yugoslavia was split into even more pieces. Think of the current Ukrainian situation as a delayed collapse.

  •  Hopefully Obama, Merkle, Hollande, Cameron (0+ / 0-)

    and all will manage to tiptoe quietly away from this nonsense about sanctions and war and get back to serious business. The US thought it could pull strings in Kiev and has wound up humiliated, backing a bunch of Nazis. My guess would be that this whole mess will end with a Russian-oriented Crimea and Eastern Ukraine and the US and EU inheriting the booby prize of an economic basket case in Western Ukraine.

    •  Well (0+ / 0-)

      things certainly won't be the same.   Reset buttons don't always work as we've found out. If a country puts foreign troops on the ground of another country, it's going to have an effect upon international relationships, regardless of how important they are, and regardless of who 'started it' and how. We learned that in Iraq  The actions by the U.S./E.U. and russia, will have lasting effects upon the "serious business" of these nations, that's just the way history works.

  •  Would this have happened if... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the EU and the USA (I'm in UK) hadn't overturned an obnoxious but reasonably democratically elected government in favour of a bunch of assorted right wing/fascist thugs? I don't think so.

    Russia already had an agreement with Ukraine for use of a warm water port.

    You reap what you sow. Yes, the EU, especially the UK, can impose sanctions on Russia by excluding Russia from the London financial market but there will be consequences and we won't like them. Cutting off the UK's gas supply won't be one of them, though, we get very little gas from Russia. Germany's a different proposition altogether, can't see them going along with sanctions, otherwise they're going to get very, very cold next winter.

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